Frustration in victory for Ulster
Ulster beat the Ospreys at Kingspan Stadium by 21-7 - but for a second consecutive match failed to secure a bonus point.
As in Glasgow last week, Dan McFarland’s side scored three tries but despite numerous opportunities couldn’t get a vital fourth touchdown to gain the extra point.
Winger Rob Lyttle had a hat trick of tries disallowed, all three were chalked off for forward passes.
The four match points for Ulster leaves them a point behind Leinster at the top of Conference A, with Leo Cullen’s side having a match in hand against Glasgow at the RDS this weekend.
The Ospreys struck with less than two minutes on the clock, Welsh scrum half Rhys Webb charged down an attempted clear off Ian Madigan’s right foot just outside the Ulster 22, the pivot hacked on and winger Keelan Giles beat three to win the race and get the touch down for the game’s opening try, with out half Stephen Myler converting.
Ulster got back into the game against the run of play three minutes before the break.
The Ospreys were building pressure just outside the home side’s 22, centre Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler tried a grubber kick but it rebounded of an Ulster player’s shin, Nick Timoney was quickest to react, gathering the loose and showing all his 7s speed to advance to just outside the Welsh side’s 22 before offloading to John Cooney and the scrum half had an easy run-in.
Cooney converted his own try to level the scores at 7-7 at the interval.
Lyttle had a try disallowed on 52 minutes as James Hume’s scoring pass was adjudged forward, however, Ulster were playing with a penalty advantage, they went to the corner and, from the lineout, driving maul hooker John Andrew was propelled over with Cooney converting.
Ulster’s third try arrived on 62 minutes, the home side were pounding the Ospreys line, the ball was moved inside with a two-man overlap on the wing, Rob Lyttle threw a pass but Dan Evans deliberately knocked it on, the referee awarded a penalty try and yellowed cared the Ospreys full back.
Lyttle was denied again on 69 minutes when he dotted the ball down in the corner but Sean Reidy’s scoring pass was forward.
Ulster were denied a bonus point on 77 minutes when Lyttle’s score was disallowed for another forward pass.
Ulster: M Lowry, R Lyttle, J Hume, S McCloskey, J Stockdale, I Madigan, J Cooney, A Warwick, J Andrew, M Moore, A O’Connor, K Treadwell, G Jones, J Murphy, Nick Timoney,
Replacements: A McBurney for Andrew 62 mins, E O’Sullivan for Warwick 50 mins, R Kane for Moore 50 mins, C Izuchukwu for Treadwell 62 mins, S Reidy for Jones 50 mins, A Mathewson for Cooney 58 mins, M Faddes, R Baloucoune for Stockdale 41 mins.
Ospreys: D Evans, Keelan Giles, T Thomas-Wheeler, K Williams, L Morgan, S Myler, R Webb, G Thomas, S Parry, T Botha, L Ashley, R Davies, W Griffiths, O Cracknell, M Morris,
Replacements: I Phillips for Parry 50 mins, N Smith for Thomas 58 mins, M Fia for Botha 50 mins, G Evans, S Cross for Cracknell 72 mins, S Venter for Morgan 39 mins, J Hawkins for Webb 72 mins, L Price.
Referee: S Gallagher (IRFU).
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