Iain Henderson injured as Ulster suffer dramatic defeat to the Ospreys

Planet Rugby
Dan Edwards in action for the Ospreys in the URC.

Dan Edwards, the match winner against Ulster, in action for the Ospreys in the URC.

The pressure continues to increase on Ulster head coach Dan McFarland after they succumbed 19-17 to the Ospreys on Sunday.

Despite starting with Ireland Six Nations squad members Iain Henderson, Nick Timoney and Jacob Stockdale, they were unable to overturn the Welsh region.

They did hold a 17-16 advantage going into the final minute following converted tries from Marcus Rea and Tom Stewart, and a penalty via Jake Flannery, but it was the hosts who had the final word.

Keiran Williams’ score and three penalties from Dan Edwards kept them in the contest before the fly-half took aim from almost 40 metres out.

His superb drop-goal duly bisected the uprights and gave the Ospreys a priceless victory, which moved them above Ulster and into seventh position in the United Rugby Championship table.

The visitors also lost Henderson in the first half after the Ireland lock was replaced due to a foot injury.

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Ospreys had the first chance for points but Edwards fired wide with a 40-metre penalty attempt and that was the only moment of interest in an error-ridden and scoreless first quarter.

The home side had marginally the better of that opening period, putting their opponents under considerable pressure in the scrums, but Ulster should have taken the lead.

The Irish province were presented with a simple kick at goal, but Flannery chose a quickly-taken cross-field kick which Stockdale was unable to collect to secure the touchdown.

Ulster suffered an injury blow when prop Marty Moore was forced to leave the field and they soon received another setback when Edwards kicked Ospreys into the lead with a 29th-minute penalty.

The visitors’ woes continued when their captain and Ireland international Henderson became their second forward to depart with injury.

However, Ulster regrouped to score the opening try in the 34th minute. They won three penalties in quick succession and were rewarded when Rea finished off a succession of forward drives.

Nathan Doak converted before Edwards kicked his second penalty to leave Ospreys trailing 7-6 at the interval.

Eight minutes after the restart, Ospreys lost Morgan Morse to a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on, but the next score went the way of the hosts when Edwards kicked a third penalty.

James Ratti became the second Ospreys player sent to the sin bin and the home side down to 13, Ulster capitalised when Stewart finished off a line-out drive.

But the game swung again when Ulster replacement Luke Marshall was yellow-carded within two minutes of entering the field and the hosts made them pay with a superb breakout try.

Deep in the Ospreys 22, a poor pass from Flannery was intercepted by Jack Walsh who sent Edwards away on a 55-metre run. The outside half was chased down by Flannery but his pass found Williams who ran unopposed to the line, with Edwards adding the extras to make it 16-14 to Ospreys heading the final 10 minutes.

Ospreys must have feared the worse when Ulster reclaimed the lead with five minutes remaining when Flannery knocked over a superb penalty from inside his half, but Edwards had other ideas as his late drop-goal sealed the spoils for the hosts.

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