Planet Rugby

Ulster fight back in Wales

04th October 2013 20:55

Share:

jackson ulster ospreys

18 points: Paddy Jackson

Ulster fly-half Paddy Jackson kicked six unanswered penalties in the second half to give the Irish side an 18-12 win over the Ospreys in Swansea.

It was a tale of two kickers at the Liberty Stadium, where the magnificent Jackson booted Ulster to a superb away win.

Dan Biggar was equally prolific for the former champions, landing four kicks of his own. The Ospreys led throughout the early stages of this bruising encounter, but fell victim to a ferocious second half onslaught from the Irish visitors.

It was the Welsh kingpins who made the superior start, and the hosts were assisted by early Ulster indiscipline.

A very experienced and physical Osprey pack, including Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones making his 150th appearance for the club, made initial inroads; with big forwards driving intently at the Ulster defence.

But the visitors weathered the early storm and settled well, and responded with some decent continuity of their own that witnessed big ball carriers like Nick Williams and Chris Henry testing the defence of the Welsh region.

The Irish province's cause was not helped by the withdrawal of fullback Craig Gilroy before the 15-minute mark. The Ospreys looked the livelier of the sides; with new signing Tito Tebaldi particularly impressive.

Consequently it was the home side that secured the first points of the evening when fly-half Biggar slotted a penalty on 20 minutes. The game descended into a rather turgid spectacle thereafter; with both sides struggling to inject any fluidity into their game.

This phase of the game was characterised by a succession of handing errors and spilled balls.

But it was the Ospreys who seemed in control of proceedings, and Biggar extended the lead on the cusp of half time when he nailed a superb penalty to make it 6-0. By the end of the half, therefore, the pacesetting Welshmen were undeniably worth their lead.

The second half started in a similar vein. Paddy Jackson tried to launch his side downfield with a purposeful kick on 41 minutes, but winger Michael Allen was caught offside. The metronomic Biggar made no mistake with the ensuing penalty.

At 9-0, the hosts were dominating the match, and Ulster had left themselves a mountain to climb against the in-form Welsh side.

The Ospreys' number ten punished the Irishmen further three minutes later when he converted another penalty to earn his team a 12-point advantage. Jackson clawed back the arrears on 48 minutes when he landed a well -taken kick.

Gradually Ulster were regaining a tenuous foothold in the game, and Irish international Jackson narrowed the gap further on 51 minutes to make it 12-6.

At last, the visitors' pack began to give them a platform, and Ulster's scrum secured another penalty attempt on 56 minutes. Jackson maintained his accomplished kicking display to bring the Ulstermen within three points.

Their retinue of substitutes galvanised the visitors further, and they were rewarded for a patient build up when Jackson levelled the scoreline at 12-12 on 64 minutes.

The youngster followed that up on 72 minutes when he gave his team an improbable lead considering Ulster's lethargic start to the game.

Replacement prop Aaron Jarvis handed the match to the Irishmen on 76 minutes when he gave away a costly penalty, and was sin-binned for his misdemeanour. Jackson sealed the win with another well-struck penalty to make it 12-18.

The Ospreys desperately tried to salvage the game in the final minutes, and laid siege to the Ulster line with breathtaking intensity - but Ulster clung on to achieve an excellent victory.

This win was just reward for a vastly improved second half performance from the Ravenhill men. The Belfast team will now enter the Heineken Cup with renewed confidence. For a chastened Ospreys, however, this will be viewed as the one that got away.

The scorers:

For Ospreys:
Pens: Biggar 4
Yellow Card: Jarvis

For Ulster:
Pens: Jackson 6
Yellow Card: Olding

Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Andrew Bishop, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Joe Bearman, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Tyler Ardron, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 3 Adam Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Ryan Bevington.
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Duncan Jones, 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 James King, 20 Sam Lewis, 21 Tom Habberfield, 22 Matthew Morgan, 23 Ben John.

Ulster: 15 Craig Gilroy, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Michael Allen, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Robbie Diack, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Johann Muller, 3 Declan Fitzpatrick, 2 R Best (c), 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Callum Black, 18 Bronson Ross, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Roger Wilson, 21 Michael Heaney, 22 Stuart Olding, 23 Darren Cave.

Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)
Assistant referees : Jon Mason (Wales) and Wayne Davies(Wales)
TMO: Derek Bevan (Wales)

by Rory McGimpsey

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Heineken Cup
Saturday , April 26
Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne15:40
Sunday , April 27
Toulon vs Munster15:30
More Heineken Cup fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Saturday , April 26
Glasgow vs EdinburghGlasgow vs Edinburgh Preview
Thursday , May 1
Zebre vs Ospreys17:00
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Amlin Challenge Cup
Friday , April 25
Northampton vs HarlequinsNorthampton vs Harlequins Preview
Sunday , April 27
Wasps vs Bath13:00
More Amlin Challenge Cup fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 25
Blues vs WaratahsBlues vs Waratahs Preview
Brumbies vs ChiefsBrumbies vs Chiefs Preview
Sharks vs HighlandersSharks vs Highlanders Preview
Saturday , April 26
Hurricanes vs RedsHurricanes vs Reds Preview
Western Force vs Bulls17:40
Cheetahs vs StormersCheetahs vs Stormers Preview
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 20
Northampton 36 - 21 London IrishNorthampton vs London Irish Report
Newcastle 18 - 23 SaracensNewcastle vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Cardiff Blues 17 - 13 ScarletsCardiff Blues vs Scarlets Report
Newport Gwent D'gons 10 - 20 Ospreys
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Bath 32 - 20 WorcesterBath vs Worcester Report
Exeter 12 - 55 SaleExeter vs Sale Report
Wasps 38 - 30 GloucesterWasps vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Zebre 26 - 13 EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Report
Connacht 23 - 32 MunsterConnacht vs Munster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Oyonnax 19 - 19 ToulouseOyonnax vs Toulouse Report
Biarritz 19 - 13 Brive
Perpignan 31 - 46 ToulonPerpignan vs Toulon Report
Racing Metro Paris 22 - 6 Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Stade Francais 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Grenoble 21 - 21 Bayonne
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 17 - 18 CrusadersChiefs vs Crusaders Report
Sharks 19 - 8 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
Waratahs 19 - 12 BullsWaratahs vs Bulls Report
Stormers 18 - 3 LionsStormers vs Lions Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins 24 - 20 LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Leinster 62 - 7 Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Report
Glasgow 27 - 9 UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Castres 22 - 15 MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 39 - 20 BluesHurricanes vs Blues Report
Melbourne Rebels 22 - 16 Western Force
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens2080
2Northampton2071
3Bath2064
4Leicester Tigers2064
5Harlequins2058