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With the Pivac era now a distant memory, Warren Gatland has a rich seam of talent to select from in the Six Nations

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Toby Booth 'delighted' after 'stressful' Leicester match goes down to the wire

By PA
Joe Hawkins catches the high ball. Photo by Tim Goode/PA Images via Getty Images

Ospreys head coach Toby Booth admitted Friday night’s last-gasp 27-26 Champions Cup win over Leicester was more dramatic than last week’s thriller against Montpellier as they qualified for the last 16 at Mattioli Woods Welford Road.

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Ospreys lost their opening encounter at home to an under-strength Leicester but – since that defeat – they have recorded a notable double over French champions Montpellier before reversing the result with Leicester thanks to a conversion by Owen Williams in the 12th minute of added time following a try from Jac Morgan.

Booth said: “I didn’t think the drama of last week’s win could be bettered but it certainly was.

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“Sport is amazing but it was very stressful tonight and I wish it could be more straightforward, although I’m delighted to come out on the right side of the result.”

For 60 minutes, Ospreys were second best and trailed 20-13 with injuries to Dewi Lake – who hobbled off and was later seen on crutches – and Cai Evans not helping their cause.

Leicester gifted their opponents a try scored by Keelan Giles and that was the catalyst for Ospreys to stage a remarkable rally, which saw them batter the Tigers’ line for a sustained period of over 15 minutes before Morgan crossed for a hotly-disputed try, which was awarded after countless replays.

Jack Van Poortvliet and Harry Simmons scored Leicester’s tries with Handre Pollard converting both and adding four penalties.

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Lake, Giles and Morgan scored Ospreys’ tries, while Williams kicked two penalties and two conversions with Evans adding a conversion.

Booth was hopeful Lake recovers from his injury quickly as it put his involvement in the Six Nations for Wales in serious doubt.

He added: “When the draw was made, there was a very sharp intake of breath and most people would have thought that the later rounds in April and May wouldn’t concern us.

“The final try was not clear-cut but I thought Keiran’s (Williams) try just before was much clearer and should have been awarded.

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“Dewi (Lake) is a tough cookie and doesn’t leave the field easily. He bent his knee backwards and is on crutches so all we can do is hope he recovers quickly.”

Leicester head coach Richard Wigglesworth was pleased to reach the knockout stages but disappointed with the defeat.

He said: “We are desperately disappointed as the defeat was by our own making as we opened the door for them and they are a good side in great form.

“We produced some good stuff out there but we couldn’t quite finish it off and the disappointment will certainly linger.

“I didn’t see any grounding for their winning try but I would say it wasn’t a score and they obviously would say otherwise.

“We are through to the knockout stages and we would have taken that outcome before the competition started.”

Leicester scrum-half, Van Poortvliet added: “We gifted them a lot of points as we were loose in attack and ill-discipline really cost us.”

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