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Match Reaction: Ospreys 9 Saracens 21

Saracens skills coach Joe Shaw is confident Ben Spencer is on track for an extended run in the first team after the scrum-half booted his side to LV= Cup victory over Ospreys.

In torrential rain at the Gnoll, Spencer landed seven penalties from nine attempts, scoring all the points as Saracens became only the second team to beat Ospreys this season in all competitions.

Veteran fly-half Nils Mordt proved the perfect foil as the half-back pairing pulled the strings behind a youthful Saracens pack that also exerted their dominance over the hosts.

The result makes it back-to-back wins for the Aviva Premiership Rugby side in this year’s LV= Cup, with Spencer also impressing in last weekend’s 25-20 victory over Harlequins.

And Shaw believes the 22-year-old has matured into a prodigious talent in all aspects of the game to match his stellar abilities off the tee.

“We are ecstatic about the victory because not many teams come down here and get a result,” said Shaw.

“We came down with a youthful team with a lot of lads who are from our academy and coupled with a few senior guys they all put in a heck of shift. We were deserved winners.

“It was torrential rain, and that’s what you expect when you come to South Wales at this time of year but the boys really stuck to the plan.

“I need to give a special mention to Ben Spencer as his kicking was red hot today, and I think the way he and Nils Mordt controlled the game in these conditions was superb.

“Ben is as good a kicker as I have ever seen. He is comfortable with both feet and he's an incredible goal kicker but he has other things to his game – he is incredibly quick.

“He's serving his apprenticeship at the moment but he's knocking on the door all the time. This game was another step in the right direction for him."

Ospreys came into the tie having secured their seventh win in as many games in the Pro12 this year but struggled to breach the Saracens defence despite the return of Welsh international centre Ashley Beck.

All nine of the hosts’ points came from the boot of fly-half Sam Davies but head coach Steve Tandy admits his team were always playing catch-up against a clinical Saracens side.

“Saracens did the simple things much better than we did. We did try to play but ultimately they played in the right areas," he said.

“They kept the scoreboard ticking but ultimately I didn't think the scoreline reflected the whole game.

“There were some good individual performances and the work rate was good throughout.

“But it's disappointing for these young players to lose in an Ospreys shirt. It's a learning experience and hopefully they will learn from some of the errors.”
 
Ospreys: Fussell; Howells (A Evans 68), Beck (Dirkson 61), Jenkins, Natoga; Davies, Habberfield (Tebaldi 67); G Thomas (N Thomas 56), Otten (Dwyer 63), Suter (M Thomas 56), Thornton, Hughes, Collier, L Evans, Boladau (Spinks 66)
Replacements not used: Bears
 
Sin bin: G Thomas 42
 
Saracens: Edwards (Gallagher 76); Wilson, Tompkins, Palamo (Wilkins 58), Perkins (Whiteley 66); Mordt, Spencer; Culverhouse, Sharman, Alo, Smith, Itoje, Thompson-Stringer, Hankin, De Jager
Replacements not used: Taylor, Adams-Hale, Ferreira, O’Neil, Featherstone
 
Sin bin: Perkins 19
 
Scorers
 
Ospreys
Penalties: Davies 3
 
Saracens
Penalties: Spencer 7
 
Referee: Matthew Carley
Attendance: 4,270

For your definitive guide to the LV= Cup click here 

Be part of the rugby family at the LV= Cup Final at Franklin's Gardens, Northampton on Sunday 22 March. Visit www.northamptonsaints.co.uk for tickets

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