Ospreys made it back-to-back bonus-point victories over Viadana as they climbed to the top of Pool Three of the Heineken Cup. Man-of-the-match Tommy Bowe crossed twice as the Welsh region followed up their 62-7 win in Italy last week with a less convincing six tries to one success at an icy cold Liberty Stadium. Dan Biggar, still only 20, provided 16 points to make it a remarkable 37 points out of 37 with the boot from the two Viadana clashes.
But the big plus point for the Ospreys in the 45-19 win was the return of the Lions prop Adam Jones. The tight-head came on 58 minutes into the match for his first rugby in six months since dislocating his shoulder in the Lions' second Test against South Africa last June. The Cardiff Blues saw their Cup hopes dented after Toulouse cruised to a convincing 27-7 win in Pool Five. Scrum-half Frederic Michalak was the match-winner for the three-time champions with an 18-point tally on the way to the man-of-the-match award.
Michalak produced a polished performance by booting five penalties and a drop goal as well as setting up captain Thierry Dusautoir's first-half try. The Blues hit back briefly through Faao Filise's score but the visitors' ill-discipline proved costly, with both Andy Powell and captain Paul Tito yellow carded Edinburgh gained revenge over Bath and got the win they needed to keep their European hopes alive into the New Year in a disappointing game where neither side threatened a try.
The full-back and captain Chris Paterson scored all the hosts' points in the 9-6 win, landing his first penalty after two minutes. Nicky Little replied and tied the scores again before half-time after Paterson restored the lead. Edinburgh dominated after a blizzard hit Murrayfield and half-time had elapsed, but a Paterson penalty was enough to overcome a lacklustre Bath. Bath's Ryan Davis missed two penalties late on.
It was the Dimitri Yachvili show at Llanelli's Parc-y-Scarlets as Biarritz eased to a 26-6 victory in the Pool Two match which had been postponed from Friday. The French international scrum-half ran the game for the French pool leaders, scoring two tries and kicking 13 points as Biarritz maintained their 100 per cent record. Northampton Saints claimed a narrow 21-18 victory against Benetton Treviso after withstanding a late comeback from the Italians. A late penalty try from Treviso brought the Italians to within a score of the Saints who were forced to close shop in the final minutes to hold on for the win.
Saints led 7-3 at half-time through Phil Dowson's try and scored twice more through Jon Clarke and Courtney Lawes but they were forced on the back foot by a score from Emiliano Mulieri and the late penalty try, with Neil Best in the sin bin. However, the victory was still enough to send Northampton top of Pool One. * With agencies