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After a season in the Champions Cup, Ospreys return to the Challenge Cup and begin their campaign at home to French side, Pau, at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea on Saturday (15:00 BST).
- Ospreys and Pau have never met before and this will be Ospreys’ second campaign in the Challenge Cup in three seasons.
- In 2016/17 Ospreys won six of six pool stage games, scoring 279 points and conceding just 51.
- Pau were one of just three sides to record a success rate of 90% or better at both scrum (92%) and lineout (90%) in the Challenge Cup last season (also Toulouse and Lyon).
- Ospreys (90%) boasted the best goal kicking success rate in the Champions Cup last season, slotting 26 of their 29 place kicks.
- Dan Evans was the joint top try scorer in last season’s Champions Cup (6, level with Nemani Nadolo), crossing for a brace of tries in each of the Ospreys’ opening three games.
🎙 Julien Blanc : « Nous allons affronter une super équipe des @ospreys Si nous faisons les choses approximativement, nous risquons de prendre pas mal de points… C’est un grand match qui nous attend. »#OSPSP #ChallengeCupRugby #EnVertEtContreTous pic.twitter.com/nWv3xqcOcw
— Section Paloise Béarn Pyrénées (@SectionPaloise) October 11, 2018
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Evergreen full-back James Hook rolled back the years to inspire Ospreys to a home whitewash of Pau in their European Rugby Challenge Cup Pool 2 opener on Saturday.
The 33-year-old Welsh international, who has 81 Tests to his name, notched 10 points through a try – his 18th for the region – a conversion and a penalty in the clubs’ first meeting to walk off with the man-of-the-match award.
He spearheaded the four-try, bonus-point success by touching down after only six minutes for a try converted by fly-half Sam Davies and with Hook kicking a 36th minute penalty, Ospreys led 10-0 at the break.
The Welsh region registered three more tries in the second half – from wings George North and Luke Morgan, and replacement Harri Morgan, who thus became the first Ospreys try-scorer born this century.
What a day for @morgan_harri
– Ospreys debut ✅
– First player born in 21st century to represent Ospreys ✅
– First Ospreys try ✅
We think he'll remember today for a while – here's what he had to say straight after the final whistle in today's @ERChallengeCup opener#MyTeam pic.twitter.com/10kjddS2i7
— Ospreys (@ospreys) October 13, 2018
Only one try was converted after the interval – by Hook of course – but it mattered little as Ospreys had banked the five points they wanted.
Now it is a trip to Worcester Warriors on the agenda for the Welsh region next Saturday, while Pau host TOP 14 rivals Stade Francais Paris.
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