Evan Roos try helps Stormers deny Ulster while Ospreys claim crucial win

Planet Rugby
Evan Roos on a run for the Stormers.

Evan Roos on a run for the Stormers.

Ulster were denied a famous victory in Cape Town as the Stormers came from behind to win 13-7 in the United Rugby Championship clash at DHL Stadium on Saturday.

A Nick Timoney try meant the visitors led from the seventh until the 74th minute, at which point number eight Evan Roos rewarded his side’s complete dominance in the second-half by rounding off a maul.

What the score lacked in artistry it made up for in importance as, for all their control after the interval, the 2022 champions wasted chance after chance through self-inflicted errors.

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The Stormers‘ defence looked heavy legged when it was exposed in the seventh minute by a simple attack that saw Nathan Doak slip Timoney between two tacklers for an easy run in.

Manie Libbok missed successive penalties and to mirror his difficulties, scrum-half John Cooney followed suit for Ulster despite both his attempts being in very kickable positions.

The visitors had dominated every aspect of the first half yet entered the interval with only a 7-0 lead and when play restarted they came under significant pressure, their work at the breakdown helping to keep the Stormers at bay.

Number eight Roos almost finished a sweeping move but he knocked on inches short due to the attention of Ulster effective scramble defence.

The Stormers won a scrum penalty and Libbok was finally off the mark but then a maul that was creeping over the whitewash ended because of a knock on in the dewy conditions.

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As the match entered the final quarter, Ulster still led but were creaking amid relentless pressure with David McCann’s departure to the sin-bin adding to their problems.

The Stormers launched their backline at speed only for yet another handling error to intervene and they were unable to score a point when McCann was off the pitch.

But the decisive score finally came in the 75th minute when Roos crashed over the line from a line-out maul with Libbok nailing a tricky conversion and then adding an overtime penalty.

Ospreys beat Lions to keep play-off bid on track

Elsewhere, Ospreys kept alive their hopes of an end of season URC play-off spot with an impressive 36-21 bonus-point win over the Lions in Swansea.

The hard-fought victory saw them move up to seventh and firmly back into the play-off mix but some difficult tasks await them with a trip to Leinster and two back-to-back games in South Africa.

Tom Botha, Sam Parry, Morgan Morris, Lewis Lloyd and Keiran Williams scored their tries with Owen Williams kicking three conversions and a penalty. Jack Walsh added a conversion.

The Lions could not repeat last week’s notable 38-14 success in Connacht but managed three tries from PJ Botha, Quan Horn and Richard Kriel all of which Jordan Hendrikse converted.

Ospreys made a quick start by building up a sustained period of pressure and were rewarded when Botha forced his way over from close-range.

Williams missed the conversion but the hosts soon extended their advantage with an excellent second try.

From a ruck 30 metres out, Reuben Morgan-Williams sailed through a huge gap in the visitors’ defence to send Parry over for the hooker to celebrate his 150th appearance for the region.

Williams converted and Ospreys held a 12-0 lead at the end of a competitive first quarter.

The Lions then showed their first real attacking intent but resilient defence led by home skipper Justin Tipuric kept the try-line intact.

Still the South Africans had much the better of the second quarter, aided by the yellow card dished out to Parry for repeated team infringements, but Hendrikse missed the resulting penalty.

However, relentless pressure had to count and it came when Botha finished off a driving lineout but Ospreys soon responded with a penalty from Williams to give them a 15-7 half-time lead.

Seven minutes after the restart, the Lions suffered a blow when their replacement prop Morgan Naude was sin-binned for a tip tackle on Tipuric and the home side soon capitalised when Morris crashed over.

Naude returned from the sin-bin in time to see Lloyd finish off a driving lineout for the bonus-point try.

Lions staged a determined rally and were rewarded with tries from Horn and Kriel but they finished the game pointless as Williams scored a late try for the hosts to seal victory.

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