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Ospreys run out of steam as Racing 92 book quarter-final place

By PA
Teddy Thomas /Getty

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Racing 92 qualified for the quarter-finals of the Heineken Champions Cup with a hard-fought 25-10 victory over Ospreys in a game played behind closed doors in Swansea.

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It took some time for the French side to quell their spirited opponents but Ospreys’ defeat leaves them pointless after three games, with their remaining fixture a difficult one at Sale.

Their only try came from Keiran Williams, with Gareth Anscombe kicking a penalty and a conversion to give the Welsh side a 10-8 half-time lead.

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But Racing 92 took charge in the second period, with Teddy Thomas and Virimi Vakatawa touching down, Antoine Gibert converting both and Finn Russell adding a penalty. Julian Imhoff’s try and a Maxime Machenaud penalty had come in the first half.

Racing began brightly with both Imhoff and Teddy Baubigny making penetrative runs to threaten the home defence.

Baubigny was only stopped by a high tackle from Alex Cuthbert, which earned the Ospreys wing a yellow card with Machenaud kicking the resulting penalty.

Down to 14, Ospreys were placed under considerable pressure and conceded five penalties in the opening 12 minutes.

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But Cuthbert was able to return with no further damage done to the scoreboard with Machenaud’s penalty the only score of the opening quarter.

With their first attack of the game, Ospreys scored the opening try when Williams forced his way over with Anscombe on-target with the conversion and a subsequent penalty to make it 10-3.

The French response was quick. They flung the ball wide to provide space for Thomas, who twice kicked ahead for Imhoff to win the race to touchdown. Machenaud missed the conversion to leave his side trailing at the interval.

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Ten minutes into the second half, Ospreys flanker Will Griffiths became the second home player to be sin-binned, this time for a deliberate knock-on.

The shorthanded hosts had the next chance for points but Anscombe was short with a penalty from the half-way line.

One of the biggest problems for the Welsh region was the malfunction of their line-out and it was instrumental in them losing the lead.

A line-out throw on halfway went astray for Russell and Gael Fickou combined to send Vakatawa in under the posts.

Griffiths returned with his side still in contention but 13 minutes from time Russell fired over a long-distance penalty to give Racing some breathing space.

The French became dominant as Ospreys tired and Thomas secured victory by rounding Luke Morgan to score.

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