Northampton 27 Ospreys 16
THE Ospreys are facing an early Heineken Cup exit after losing 27-16 at Northampton.
No. 8 Samu Manoa, lock Christian Day and full-back Ben Foden scored tries for the Saints, with fly-half Stephen Myler converting all three touchdowns and adding two penalties.
Wales fly-half Dan Biggar posted all the Ospreys’ points from a try, conversion and three penalties.
But without a bonus point, they now have a mountain to climb in a group that also includes reigning French champions Castres.
Having lost their opening games last weekend, neither team could afford another slip-up, but the opening exchanges proved one-sided as Northampton took charge.
Courtney Lawes set the the tone from the kick-off with a crunching tackle on Ospreys scrum-half Tom Habberfield, and Myler landed a penalty just seconds later.
The Ospreys struggled to escape from inside their own 22, with Northampton monopolising possession and establishing early set-piece dominance that resulted in an easy try for Manoa.
He picked up from a five-metre scrum and touched down without an Ospreys hand being laid on him, with Myler’s conversion making it 10-0 before the visitors stirred through a long-range Biggar penalty.
Biggar made no mistake with another penalty to cut Northampton’s lead.
But the Ospreys had no answer when Luther Burrell was used as a battering ram, smashing the first line of defensive cover.
The Ospreys ran out of numbers, and an unmarked Day had a simple task of touching down before Myler's touchline conversion took Northampton 17-6 ahead.
The Ospreys knew they had to blast out of the blocks immediately after half-time, and they left Saints reeling as skipper Alun-Wyn Jones made initial headway before Biggar touched down at the posts.
The Ospreys stepped up a gear, but they were punished when Habberfield’s pass went astray.
It allowed Saints to charge upfield, and when they eventually moved possession wide there was an easy run-in for Foden.
Bigger landed a penalty but another Myler penalty 11 minutes from time put Saints out of sight.