Henderson’s late red card mars Ulster’s away victory

McFarland claims captain’s infringement in win over Ospreys, though serious, was totally accidental

 

Ospreys 12 Ulster 24

Crisis, what crisis?

Ulster are again on Leinster’s heels atop Conference A with their first back-to-back wins since January, albeit it was blighted by a somewhat unfortunate red card for Iain Henderson.

Counter-rucking five minutes from time, the Ulster captain caught Dan Evans initially on the chin with his shoulder as he tried to shunt him back. Technically, it was the correct decision by Mike Adamson, but there was negligible force, with Evans barely nudged back a metre and still upright.

It remains to be seen what the exact charge will be but it would be cruel to miss out on any Six Nations game for something so relatively mild.

“I realised as I was saying ‘I didn’t see it’s that I was sounding like a Premier League soccer manager, I genuinely couldn’t see the finer detail but it looked to me like he clipped his chin,” said Dan McFarland.

“By the letter of the law that is a red card. The bottom line I’ll say is that Hendy doesn’t have a malicious bone on his body. Whether the video shows something different I don’t know but it’s really unfortunate for him because it’ll have been a total accident if it was what Mike saw.”

Much has been made about this being only Ulster’s second away win since December, but of the six defeats in that time, two were against Leinster, one in Clermont and one in Toulouse.

Another was here last February, by 26-24, one of only two wins in 20 competitive outings last season by the Ospreys but handsomely avenged here.

With Marcell Coetzee the game’s outstanding performer in almost every facet and Jacob Stockdale reminding everyone that his game breaking abilities remain, Ulster were vastly improved in defence, missing only six tackles and also had the better set-pieces, maul, discipline, kick-chase, and attacking game, scoring three tries to nil and making seven line breaks to none.

Scoring sequence: 8 mins Stockdale try, Cooney con 0-7; 22 mins Myler pen 3-7; 32 mins Cooney pen 3-10; 40 (+2 mins) Myler pen 6-10; (half-time 6-10); 49 mins Coetzee try, Cooney con 6-17; 58 mins Myler pen 9-17; 66 mins Myler pen 12-17; 73 mins Cooney try and con 12-24.

Ospreys: D Evans; M Protheroe, O Watkin, K Williams, L Morgan, S Myler, R Webb; N Smith, S Parry, T Botha, A Beard, A W Jones, O Cracknell, J Tipuric (Capt), M Morris. Replacements: D Lake for Parry, D Lydiate for Cracknell (both 51 mins), R Jones for Smith, M Fia for Botha, H Morgan for Webb (all 56 mins), T Thomas-Wheeler for K Williams (72 mins), B Davies for Beard (77 mins), J Thomas for Myler (79 mins).

Ulster: J Stockdale; M Faddes, J Hume, S Moore, R Lyttle, I Madigan, J Cooney; J McGrath, R Herring, My Moore, A O’Connor, I Henderson (Capt), Matty Rea, Marcus Rea, M Coetzee. Replacements: E O’Sullivan for McGrath (half-time), S Reidy for Marcus Rea (56 mins), K Treadwell for O’Connor, G Jones for Matt Rea (both 60 mins), A McBurney for Herring, L Ludik for Faddes (both 72 mins). Sent-off: Henderson (75 mins).

Referee: Mike Adamson (SRU).

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