PRO12 RUGBY: Ulster open up with bonus point victory over Ospreys

Ulster's Stuart McCloskey scores against the Ospreys
Ulster's Stuart McCloskey scores against the Ospreys

ULSTER 28 OSPREYS 6

Ulster kicked off their Pro12 campaign in style with a bonus point victory over Ospreys at the Kingspan Stadium.

Neil Doak’s side scored two tries in each half to win the battle of last season’s beaten semi finalists.

Skipper Rob Herring gave Ulster a prefect start with a try after six.

Nick Williams burst through and offload to Willie Fallon, the open side flanker was dragged down metres for the line but a quick recycle allowed Herring to touch down but Stuart McCloskey missed the conversion.

McCloskey made amends three minutes later by slotting over a penalty from in front of the posts.

Sam Davies got the Ospreys points on 22 minutes with a penalty that struck the upright but fell over aver Ulster were punished at the scrum.

McCloskey got Ulster’s second try on 27 minutes.

Andrew Trimble made the initial break, quick hands from Paul Marshall, Williams and Peter Nelson fed McCloskey on the wing and he showed power and pace to hold off four defenders to touch down in the corner and converted his own try.

Davies added his second penalty on 36 minutes to reduce Ulster’s lead to 15-6 at the break.

The Ospreys missed an early second half penalty after Ulster again infringed at the scrum.

McCloskey extended Ulster’s lead with a penalty in front of the posts.

Ulster’s third try came on 53 minutes, they kicked a penalty to touch and from the resulting catch a drive off the lineout Williams smashed a hole in the opposition defence and from a quick recycle Wiehahn Herbst powered over in the corner.

The Ospreys were reduced to 14 men after flanker Joe Bearman was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle on Luke Marshall.

Ulster wrapped up victory and the bonus point with a try two minutes from full time.

Craig Gilroy cut through the Ospreys defence, he feed Sam Arnold whos quick hands put John Andrew clear, the hooker showed great pace before freeing Luke Marshall to go over in the corner but Nelson failed to convert.

ULSTER:

L Ludik; A Trimble, L Marshall, S McCloskey, C Gilroy; P Nelson, P Marshall;

A Warwick, R Herring (capt), W Herbst; D Tuohy, F Van der Merwe; R Wilson, W Faloon, N Williams.

Replacements: J Andrew for Marshall 69 mins, R Lutton for Herbst 60 mins, B Ross for Warwick, P Browne for Tuohy 54 mins, C Ross, for Williams 56 mins S Reidy for Faloon 66 mins, D Shanahan for Trimble 68 mins, S Arnold for McCloskey 60 mins.

OSPREYS:

D Evans; K Phillips, J Spratt, B John, T Grabham; S Davies, T Habberfield;

M Thomas, S Parry, D Arhip; L Ashley (capt), De Kock Steenkamp; J Bearman, L Evans, G Delve.

Replacements: S Otten for Parry 66 mins, N Smith for Thomas 50 mins , C Griffiths for Arhip 63 mins, R Thornton for Steenkamp 50, D Baker for Delve 48 mins, S Underhill for Evans 63 mins, B Leonard for Habberfield 63 mins, A Beck for Spratt 4 8 mins.

Ref I Davies (WRU)