Better organised Ospreys inflict third defeat on weakened Ulster
Ulster 12 Ospreys 16:It was one of those nights when nothing seemed to stick for the league leaders and, in truth, they thoroughly deserved to taste their third competitive reverse, in all competitions, this season.
Yes, they were weakened but the Ospreys were in even worse state and the return of skipper Johann Muller, Luke Marshall and the release of Andrew Trimble seemed to bode well only for Mark Anscombe’s side to end up coming into this clash looking severely undercooked.
True this was big step up for Stuart Olding on his competitive debut and Tom Court had shifted across to play at tight-head prop, but Ulster were just far too short of cohesion and accuracy for a lively and much better organised looking Ospreys side who sprung Alun Wyn Jones off the bench in the second half for his first taste of action since November.
It certainly didn’t help that Ulster lost Ruan Pienaar to a shoulder injury in the second half nor indeed that their lineout with first Muller, and then Dan Tuohy off the bench, failing to get to grips with a malfunctioning throw off Rob Herring.
In the end the bonus point was fortunate such was their lack of organisation which even saw the Ospreys make do with 14 men after Morgan Allen’s 63rd minute sin-binning which was shortly followed by Ryan Bevington’s crucial match winning try from a tremendous Welsh break out from their own try line to Ulster’s
Pienaar opened the scoring with a third-minute penalty but this failed to settle a ring rusty looking Ulster and after winning a free kick at the first scrum, the visitors gave the ball air and won themselves a penalty deep in Ulster territory after a hand strayed into the ruck.
Matthew Morgan kicked the points and it was all square after seven minutes.
On the resumption the Ospreys quickly took control and were bolstered by the return to action of Wyn Jones.Things then got considerably worse for Ulster with Pienaar leaving the field with what appeared to be a shoulder injury. The Ospreys led 16-12 with only 14 men on the park and did not concede again before Allen’s return and the Welsh side finished the game on the front foot.