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Win over Ospreys puts Ulster in PRO14 play-off places

Stuart McCloskey in action against Ospreys, making his 100th appearance for Ulster. Credit: INPHO
  • Ospreys 0 - 8 Ulster

Ulster have moved into the PRO14 play-off places with a narrow 8-0 victory over the Ospreys in Bridgend on Friday night.

A second-half try from inside centre Stuart McCloskey on his 100th Ulster appearance, along with a last-gasp penalty from scrum-half John Cooney, was enough to secure victory for the Ulstermen.

Allen Clarke's Ospreys failed to fire a single shot, but remain in third place in Conference A of the PRO14.

Ulster took on Ospreys at the Morganstone Brewery Field in Bridgend. Credit: INPHO

The fixture also saw a comeback for Ireland lock Iain Henderson who had been missing since undergoing thumb surgery in December.

The Ospreys showed plenty of effort in a pointless first half and came closest to crossing the whitewash when Wales wing Luke Morgan raced clear after a neat through ball from Cory Allen.

He was eventually brought down before opposite wing Hanno Dirksen powered his way through three Ulster defenders.

But that Ospreys attack came to nothing as they were turned over, and from there on, Ulster enjoyed the vast majority of territory and possession.

Angus Kernohan spilled the ball forward inches from the line. Credit: INPHO

Ulster wasted a straightforward opportunity when Angus Kernohan spilled the ball forward inches away from the try line after some slick handling by his inside backs.

McCloskey also threatened the line, but he too got white line fever as he charged towards the line.

It took 47 minutes for the first try to be scored with McCloskey making a 30-metre break into the Ospreys 22 before offloading to Peter Nelson.

The Ulster full-back was brought down just short of the line, but the ball was recycled and spread wide by Cooney with McCloskey crossing at the far corner.

Ulster's Peter Nelson is tackled short of the line. Credit: INPHO

Ulster dominated territory and possession in the second half with the Ospreys struggling to cope with their physicality.

But time and time again Ulster's execution let them down with basic errors undermining the vast majority of their attacking opportunities.

Ulster were held up over the line after their driving line-out was repelled by a gutsy Ospreys number eight.

The visitors came to rue their wastefulness as the Ospreys ensured they would have an uncomfortable closing 10 minutes.

Ulster's John Cooney in action against Ospreys. Credit: INPHO

After some poor discipline by the visitors, Ospreys proceeded to lay siege to the Ulster line.

The Ospreys kept edging forward with their driving line-out and just when it looked ominous, the visitors somehow managed to turn the ball over to clear their lines.

And with the clock ticking, Cooney nailed a late penalty to take the losing bonus point away from the Ospreys.

Darren Cave leads the Ulster team off the pitch after the game. Credit: INPHO