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Northampton Saints host Ospreys on Saturday at Franklin’s Gardens, and will be looking to pick up their first points in this year’s European Rugby Champions Cup. Saints have won all four previous meetings between the clubs, with each of those victories coming by more than 10 points.
· Saints have lost six of their last seven games in the Champions Cup, including the last three in a row; they’ve not lost four consecutive matches since May – December 2011.
· Ospreys are winless away from home since beating Viadana in December 2009, losing 20 and drawing once on the road since then.
· Northampton have received three yellow cards in their two matches so far this season, more than any other side.
· Saints (4/4) and the Ospreys (9/9) are two of just four sides to maintain a 100% goal kicking success rate this season. Dan Biggar has slotted all of the Ospreys’ kicks at goal while Harry Mallinder and Stephen Myler have landed two each for Northampton.
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Ospreys collected their first European Rugby Champions Cup win of the campaign on Saturday with a 43-32 success over Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens in an enthralling continental showdown.
- The Anglo-Welsh encounter saw 11 tries exchanged and at 43-8 Ospreys would have thought they were home and dry, yet a rousing Northampton Saints fightback saw them come close to completing what would have been a historic comeback.
- Northampton Saints fly-half Stephen Myler broke the deadlock on 17 minutes with a penalty, before his opposite number Sam Davies hit back with a three-pointer of his own; then the Welsh region raced through the gears.
- Full-back Dan Evans crossed the whitewash for the first try on match on 26 minutes and scrum-half Tom Habberfield's try, complete with Davies' conversion, ensured the visitors went into the break with a comfortable 17-3 lead in the Midlands.
- Shortly after the restart Ospreys winger Jeff Hassler made amends for his first-half sin-binning with a well-worked try, before centre Kieron Fonotia's try pushed the Welsh region's advantage to 31-3.
- England captain Dylan Hartley attempted to kickstart a Northampton Saints comeback, but Evans and Hassler completing their braces of tries stretched the Ospreys lead to 38 points.
- Northampton Saints scrum-half Nic Groom slipped through for their second try of the match just after the hour, before the back trio of Rob Horne, Ahsee Tuala and Harry Mallinder all crossed over the course of five minutes as the Franklin's Gardens faithful roared the hosts on in a spirited comeback effort.
- As tensions mounted Mallinder and Rob McCusker were both sin-binned reducing both sides to 14 men for the final eight minutes and Ospreys were down to 13 when winger Hanno Dirksen was shown a red card for a dangerous tackle in the 78th minute.
- Northampton Saints were unable to make their numerical advantage pay so late on, but victory for Ospreys only draws them to within a point of second-placed Clermont Auvergne, who face Saracens on Sunday afternoon, in Pool 2.
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