European Challenge Cup: Worcester beat Ospreys to reach quarter-finals

Ted Hill tackles Justin Tipuric as Worcester captain Ryan Mills moves in
Ted Hill tackles Ospreys skipper Justin Tipuric as Worcester captain Ryan Mills moves in
European Challenge Cup
Ospreys (15) 18
Tries: Giles, Cracknell Cons: Price Pens: L Price, S Davies
Worcester (7) 20
Tries: Arr, Lawrence, Hammond Cons: Van Breda Drop-goal: Mills

Fly-half Ryan Mills dropped a dramatic late goal to send Worcester through to the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals.

Replacement fly-half Sam Davies had put the hosts ahead moments earlier.

But Worcester's second string overcame a home side that included nine regular Wales internationals.

Warriors can secure a home quarter against Stade Francais next Saturday, while Ospreys need to win heavily at Pau and hope other results favour them.

Worcester are five points ahead of the Welsh region in the pool, with Ospreys' losing bonus point giving them a mathematical lifeline for their trip to France as one of the three best runners up.

Whatever the results in the final round of pool matches next weekend, Worcester will top the group courtesy of their head-to-head record against Ospreys having beaten the Welsh side twice.

Lock Darren Barry intercepted as Ospreys attacked to sprint 50m before sending scrum-half Jonny Arr over for Ospreys' opener.

Full-back Scott van Breda converted, but home wing Keelan Giles showed Barry how it should be done by using his pace to go all the way with a rapid reply, also from a long-range intercept.

That try went unconverted, but Luke Price sent over a penalty to put the hosts ahead for the first time.

Olly Cracknell went over after North gathered a loose ball to set up an attack in which James King and Cory Allen were prominent.

Price converted to give Ospreys a 15-7 lead at the break.

Worcester fought back as Lawrence ghosted through the home defence.

More pressure from the visitors resulted in George North being sin-binned as Ospreys defended their line and Arr took advantage as his clever pass put wing Dean Hammond clear for Worcester to take the lead.

Davies punished Simon Kerrod's high tackle on Gareth Thomas to put Ospreys back in front.

But it was not enough to seal a home win as Mills struck the decisive blow.

Ospreys captain Justin Tipuric told BBC Sport Wales: "It wasn't a great game and the way it finished, to lose like that was frustrating for us.

There were just a few errors and a few interceptions when we were putting pressure on them, and going down to 14 men (with North sin-binned) gave them a bit of momentum.

"When we were down to 14, we tried not to give away penalties and lose territory and (the kicking exchanges) weren't great. If we'd won we'd have gone top so it's an opportunity lost.

Worcester Warriors captain Ryan Mills told BBC Hereford & Worcester: "We knew we needed a penalty or three points at the end, so we got into shape and I was waiting for an opportunity, I hit it well but someone got a hand to it, it went outside the post and then came back in, they all count.

"We knew it was going to be tough since the Ospreys had only lost once at home, it was a chance to put your hand up for selection and everyone did that, so happy days. It's fantastic we've qualified."

Ospreys: D Evans; North, C Allen, S Williams, Giles; Price, A Davies; G Thomas, Baldwin, Jeffries, Ashley, King, O Cracknell, Tipuric (capt), Cross.

Replacements: Otten, R Jenkins, Gajion, Griffiths, McCusker, Habberfield, S Davies, Watkin.

Worcester Warriors: Van Breda; Howe, Lawrence, Te'o, Hammond; Mills (capt), Arr; Waller, Taufete'e, Kerrod, Barry, Phillips, Hill, Mama, Cox.

Replacements: Annett, Cosgrove, Morris, Mitchener, Kirwan, Heaney, Butler, David.

Referee: Alexandre Ruiz (France)

Assistant referees: Laurent Cordona, Luc Ramos (France)

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