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- Heineken Cup
- Pool 3
- 22nd Jan 2011
- KO 15:30
- Ground: Liberty Stadium, Swansea
- Att: 10,192
Williams inspires Ospreys
Wales winger impresses in first game for 10 weeks
Ospreys completed their Heineken Cup campaign with victory over Toulon but it is the French side who had already qualified for the quarter-finals.
Toulon had an outside chance of claiming a home tie in the last eight but that was denied them by an Ospreys side playing merely to ease their dented pride.
Wales wing Shane Williams came off the replacements' bench for his first game in 10 weeks to inspire a fightback that delighted a sparse crowd at the Liberty Stadium.
Williams entered the fray just before the hour mark, creating a score for fellow wing Nikki Walker just five minutes later.
Ospreys trailed what was effectively a Toulon second team 14-9 at the interval, conceding two tries and only being kept in the contest by the boot of fly-half Dan Biggar, who kicked three of his four penalty shots.
Toulon, who retained only Jonny Wilkinson from the side which secured top spot in the pool with a win over Munster last week, showed the misfiring Ospreys the way to the tryline.
Biggar opened the scoring for the Ospreys with a simple penalty on five minutes, but it was the French outfit who made the most of their possession by scoring two tries in the space of 10 minutes.
Scotland full-back Rory Lamont got the first of those as he ran through an attempted tackle by Ryan Jones after a good position had been set up by loosehead Saimone Taumoepeau, who ran out of a ruck unopposed.
Toulon skipper and scrum-half Matt Henjak then muscled his way over from short range after good work by the lively number eight Fotu Auelua.
The Ospreys did have their chances, most notably when Walker attempted to feed Richard Fussell down the left, but they just lacked the necessary clinical edge.
In the hunt
Biggar penalties on 30 and 39 minutes kept the Ospreys in the hunt until Wilkinson's reliable left boot kicked Toulon into a 17-9 lead shortly after half-time.
The Ospreys should have had a try on 50 minutes but Fussell failed to get the ball down in the left corner after a fine saving tackle by Wilkinson, who somehow managed to keep the ball off the turf one-handed.
It took the introduction of Williams to spark the Ospreys into action and just five minutes into his first game for two months he created a try for Walker with a diagonal run and neat reverse pass close to the try-line. James Hook's conversion put the Ospreys 19-17 ahead.
A Hook penalty and a try for skipper Alun Wyn Jones five minutes from the end extended Ospreys home Heineken Cup winning record to 12 matches going back to 2005.
But it was their away form - notably a sloppy defeat from a winning position in Toulon in the pool's opening round - which has cost them a place in the latter stages.