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- RaboDirect PRO12
- 27th May 2012
- KO 16:00
- Ground: The Greenyards
- Att: 18,500
Ospreys swoop late
Williams signs off in fairytale fashion in last-gasp 31-30 final win
Ospreys edged out Leinster 31-30 in an epic, six-try RaboDirect PRO12 final to etch their name into the record books.
Shane Williams notched a 78th minute try and Dan Biggar showed nerves of steel to land the difficult conversion as the Welsh region became the first team to win four league titles.
The late knockout punch left the RDS crowd stunned as Leinster were on course to complete a famous European and domestic double - a feat not achieved since London Wasps did so back in 2004.
Joe Schmidt's men had led 17-9 at half-time thanks to tries from Sean Cronin and Isa Nacewa, and another from the Fijian international gave them a 30-21 advantage.
However, the Ospreys showed tremendous grit and will to win as Biggar landed his fourth penalty and then added the extras to Williams' effort to seal a famous comeback win.
The defeat is a bitter pill for Leinster to swallow as it is their third straight loss in a league decider, the Ospreys repeating their 2010 victory in Dublin.
Steve Tandy's side had beaten the Heineken Cup champions twice during the regular season and they nipped ahead thanks to a ninth-minute penalty from Biggar.
Leinster were level within two minutes though, Jonathan Sexton delivering a crisp penalty strike to reward the carrying of Gordon D'Arcy and Mike Ross.
Prop Ross injured his left leg at a subsequent scrum - a concern ahead of Ireland's summer tour to New Zealand - and Kiwi Nathan White had to be introduced.
Biggar hit a three-pointer before the Irish province charged back, with Brian O'Driscoll brilliantly drawing in two defenders to set hooker Cronin free for a rampaging run to the line.
Sexton converted with aplomb, a quality kick which was matched by the in-form Biggar as he topped off a powerful scrum with his third successful penalty.
However, Sexton's pinpoint restart kick was fielded superbly by a leaping Nacewa and the winger burst through for an opportunist try, with Sexton adding the extras from wide out.
But the Welshmen had the try they craved just 84 seconds into the second half, with Joe Bearman's clever offload releasing centre Ashley Beck for a well-taken seven-pointer.
Leinster replied almost immediately, Sexton rifling over his second penalty, before Ospreys captain Ryan Jones infringed at a ruck to allow Sexton to kick Leinster 23-16 ahead.
But in yet another twist, the Ospreys worked numbers on the left to release Williams for a rare scoring chance and he showed his renowned finishing skills by crashing over past Eoin Reddan.
Biggar missed the conversion, leaving Leinster with a two-point buffer, and the league's table-toppers seemed to be turning the screw when Nacewa swooped for his second of this closely-fought final.
Sexton's conversion completed his 15-point haul and pushed the margin out to nine points with just 16 minutes remaining.
It was an uphill task for the Ospreys but Biggar sent over a penalty to give his team-mates renewed hope.
Williams then signed off in fairytale fashion as the diminutive winger ducked out of Rob Kearney's challenge to wriggle over in the right corner and Biggar kicked the decisive blow.
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|Saturday 6th September|
|TBC||Munster vs Edinburgh|
|TBC||Connacht vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|TBC||Glasgow vs Leinster|
|TBC||Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso|
|TBC||Scarlets vs Ulster|
|TBC||Zebre vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 13th September|
|TBC||Benetton Treviso vs Munster|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Connacht|
|TBC||Ulster vs Zebre|
|TBC||Leinster vs Scarlets|
|TBC||Cardiff Blues vs Glasgow|
|TBC||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys|
|Saturday 20th September|
|TBC||Cardiff Blues vs Ulster|
|TBC||Zebre vs Munster|
|TBC||Ospreys vs Edinburgh|
|TBC||Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso|
|TBC||Connacht vs Leinster|
|TBC||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow|
|Saturday 27th September|
|TBC||Leinster vs Cardiff Blues|
|TBC||Munster vs Ospreys|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Scarlets|
|TBC||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Benetton Treviso|
|TBC||Zebre vs Ulster|
|TBC||Glasgow vs Connacht|
|Saturday 4th October|
|TBC||Leinster vs Munster|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com