ULSTER 10 OSPREYS 7
Ulster leapfrogged the Ospreys and Leinster on Friday night at a rain-lashed Ravenhill after this narrow win over the Welsh visitors to move into second place as they kicked off round 13 of the RaboDirect PRO12.
Ospreys dominated the first half and played the sharper rugby, with outhalf Mathew Morgan a constant thorn to the Ulster side.
With the breeze at their backs the Ospreys swooped on Ulster and outhalf Morgan, aided by two missed tackles, almost scored in the opening minutes, fullback Ricky Andrew making a try saving tackle.
Then further missed tackles saw fullback Sam Davies break through. He was held up a few yards out, but the ball was spun right and after the forwards had made some further inroads, the ball was moved right again and loose forward Sam Lewis went over for the try, fullback Davies converting for a 7-0 advantage after 10 minutes.
Ulster did hit back, but Michael Allen was deemed to have knocked on – that was the ruling of the TMO - as he went in at the corner.
After weathering another Ospreys storm, Ulster began to exert pressure and Ruan Pienaar kicked a penalty on 23 minutes.
Both kickers missed attempts in the closing stages, leaving the Ospreys holding a narrow 7-3 advantage at the break.
Three minutes into the second half, the Ravenhill crowd lit up when a lovely line by centre Darren Cave saw him race through for a try which Pienaar converted.
Ten minutes later, half time replacement Iain Henderson, was bundled over by the pack to make it 15-7. However, although official Owens had initially given the try, on TMO review it was disallowed and Ulster were back to three points ahead – a lead they held on gingerly to until the final whistle.
Ulster: Ricky Andrew; Craig Gilroy, Jared Payne, Darren Cave, Michael Allen; James McKinney, Ruan Pienaar; Tom Court, Rob Herring, John Afoa; Johann Muller (capt), Lewis Stevenson; Robbie Diack, Sean Doyle, Roger Wilson.
Replacements: Niall Annett, Callum Black (Court 65), Ricky Lutton, Iain Henderson (Stevenson HT), Nick Williams (Doyle 53), Paul Marshall (McKinney 60), Luke Marshall (Payne 63), Rory Scholes (Allen 78).
Ospreys: Sam Davies; Jeff Hassler, Jonathan Spratt (capt), Ashley Beck, Aisea Natoga; Matthew Morgan, Tom Habberfield; Duncan Jones, Scott Baldwin, Aaron Jarvis, Lloyd Peers, Perry Parker, Tyler Ardron, Sam Lewis, Joe Bearman.
Replacements (all used): Matthew Dwyer, Ryan Bevington, Dan Suter, Dan Baker, Morgan Allen, Tito Tebaldi, Richard Fussell, Eli Walker.
News Letter man of the match: Jim Hassler
Ref: Nigel Owens
Att: 12, 986