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Page last updated at 11:51 GMT, Sunday, 11 April 2010 12:51 UK

Ospreys 'robbed' in Biarritz loss - Adrian Hadley

A devastated Ospreys team after the defeat to Biarritz at Estadio Anoeta
A devastated Ospreys team after the defeat to Biarritz at Estadio Anoeta

Former Wales wing Adrian Hadley says referee George Clancy cost Ospreys their agonising 29-28 Heineken Cup quarter-final defeat to Biarritz.

In the last minute, Dimitri Yachvili came through a ruck to knock on a pass as Dan Biggar lined up a drop goal.

Post-match analysis showed Yachvili was onside, but the Ospreys say referee George Clancy had indicated a penalty for a deliberate knock-on.

"I feel they were robbed and I'm sure they are feeling sick," said Hadley.

"For me, [the referee] definitely indicated a penalty then didn't give it."

There were two massive decisions by George Clancy

Adrian Hadley

Hadley, watching the match in San Sebastian as a summariser for BBC Radio Wales, also feels that Clancy made a key mistake early in the first half.

As the Ospreys pushed for a score, Biarritz wing Takudzwa Ngwenya knocked on a potential try-scoring pass after going for a one-handed intercept.

A penalty and yellow card were potential options, but Clancy chose to just award an Ospreys scrum.

From the next series of play, Ngwenya was given the ball and set off on a scintillating 70m run down the touchline to score the first try of the game.

"There were two massive decisions by George Clancy," Hadley told BBC Sport Wales.

"But the Ospreys did have chances to win in the first half if they had been clinical enough.

"They ran Biarritz ragged at times and definitely have the talent to go further in Europe. They are coming close - but they should have won this one."

The Ospreys themselves felt hard done by after the defeat, although they kept criticism of the officials muted.

"He [Clancy] said it was a penalty [for the late knock-on] but there was no time," said Ospreys captain Ryan Jones.

"It's not soccer and I don't want to criticise the referee but we all saw that it was a deliberate knock-on. I can only tell you what he said to me."


The Ospreys, who outscored their opponents by three tries to two through Jones, Lee Byrne and Nikki Walker, then decided to go for a long-range Biggar drop goal with time against them.

But the fly-half, who missed five kicks at goal in the Basque country, saw his effort fall short as Biarritz surged into the semi-finals for the first time since 2006.

In the semi they will have home-country advantage over Munster, who defeated the French side in the 2006 final.

"We are really happy about the result," said Biarritz captain Jerome Thion after the Estadio Anoeta victory.

"The Ospreys were very intense and reactive and it was a close game. But we deserved the victory and look forward to the semi-finals."

Ospreys coach Sean Holley shared Jones' uneasy feelings about the game's denouement, though.

"I will certainly ask him [Clancy, about the late decision]," said Holley.

"It's a tough call that has to be made at the end but I have had another look at the incident and it looks like a penalty offence to me."

It is the third successive season that the Ospreys have exited Europe's premier competition at the last-eight stage.

But they will regret this opportunity after spurning a number of gilt-edged chances during the compelling tie.

"We have to start believing and realising the potential of the side," said Holley.

"We have great players but we are a bloody good team. We're not a team of individuals.

"We made a lot of opportunities in the first half, James Hook was outstanding and Mike Phillips really stepped up to the plate.

"We made a lot of breaks with some great attacking play and showed plenty of endeavour but we just lacked a clinical edge.

"It's extremely frustrating. The players do not need to be told that we need to start nailing those chances."

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see also
Biarritz 29-28 Ospreys
10 Apr 10 |  Welsh
Ulster v Ospreys (Tue)
12 Apr 10 |  Irish
Wales' sporting weekend in photos
08 Apr 10 |  Wales
Coming up next on Scrum V...
03 Nov 08 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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The Independent Jones hails Ospreys despite 'heartbreaking' loss to Biarritz - 15 hrs ago Ospreys' Heineken Cup quest ends after Biarritz seize on mistakes - 17 hrs ago
AOL UK Ospreys angered by late decision - 24 hrs ago
Scotland on Sunday Online Biarritz 29 - 28 Ospreys: Biarritz through to semi-finals after Biggar botches last-gasp drop goal - 41 hrs ago
Observer Biarritz hold on to beat Ospreys and reach Heineken Cup last four - 42 hrs ago


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