Late Ospreys drop-goal sees Ulster fall to defeat in Swansea

Dan Edwards cancels out Jake Flannery’s late penalty with the winning drop-goal in the 80th minute

URC: Ospreys 19 Ulster 17

At least the game’s coda introduced some drama to a mostly messy arm wrestle, Dan Edwards’ last minute drop goal wiping out Jake Flannery’s immense 75th minute penalty, struck from inside his own half, to snatch the result from Ulster.

It was an edgy and error strewn affair from the off, the lead changing hands several times as both sides struggled to take control. Ospreys’ coast to coast try 64th minute try from Keiran Williams was a rare moment of quality though even this was as a direct result of an overambitious pass from Flannery.

As for the table, the win took the Ospreys up to seventh and it now has a still-misfiring Ulster hanging on to their play-off hopes in eighth thanks to their losing bonus point.

It certainly looked as if both sides hadn’t been active for a while, such were the number of inaccuracies which began when Edwards snatched at a fifth minute penalty.


Then in the 22nd minute there was a brief respite from the drudgery when Flannery opted to cross-kick a penalty to Jacob Stockdale, though he was unable to get the touchdown.

Just before the half hour Edwards then struck a penalty which came in off the post to jolt the scoreboard into life after Iain Henderson was pinged for a high tackle.

However, this was the Ulster skipper’s final action after what looked to be a foot injury shipped in the early minutes of the game, something which may yet keep him out of the Ireland squad ahead of the weekend’s clash with Wales.

A series of penalties then put Ulster in the red zone, and on penalty advantage Marcus Rea wriggled through on 33 minutes to touch down. Nathan Doak converted to complete the package.

Two minutes later, the hosts had cut Ulster’s lead to just a point, Edwards doing the needful from the tee and there was no further change before the break with the hosts leading 7-6.

Eight minutes in o the second half, Morgan Morse was shown yellow for what was adjudged to be a slap of the ball and then as Ulster mauled to the line from the penalty to the corner Tom Stewart was unable to ground the ball.

If that wasn’t costly enough, another visit to the red zone resulted in Flannery’s pull back to James Hume hitting the turf and from the breakdown Ospreys secured a relieving penalty.

That moment resulted in Ospreys marching down the field and then winning yet another penalty from the breakdown, allowing Edwards to nudge them in front after 55 minutes.

However, James Ratti was then shown yellow for a trip on Flannery, reducing the hosts to 13. An Ulster score looked inevitable and it duly came when Stewart got the ball down off a driving maul. Doak added a touchline conversion and Ulster now led 14-9 just as Morse returned to bring the Ospreys up to 14.

It should have been advantage Ulster but the newly arrived Luke Marshall was then sent to the bin for a high tackle.

Things got even worse for the northern province when, on 64 minutes, Flannery tried an over-the-top pass near the hosts’ line only for it to be intercepted by Jack Walsh, who linked with Mat Protheroe who found Edwards in support.

Flannery caught his opposite number but Edwards got the ball to Williams and he ran in the length of the field score which was then converted.

But Ospreys couldn’t protect their 16-14 lead and five minutes from the close Flannery stepped up and nailed a huge penalty from just inside his own half.

That seemed to have sealed it, only for the hosts to launch one more attack and, from deep in the pocket, Edwards sent the ball sailing between the posts to triumph.

Ospreys: J Walsh; M Protheroe, E Boshoff, K Williams, K Giles; D Edwards, R Morgan-Williams; N Smith, S Parry, T Botha; J Ratti, V Sekekete; H Deaves, J Tipuric (capt), M Morse.

Replacements: B Warren for Botha (59 mins), L Lloyd for Parry, R Henry for Smith, L Jones for Morse, A Cuthbert for Protheroe (all 66 mins), W Hickey for Sekekete (71 mins).

Yellow cards: Morse (48 mins), Ratti (57 mins).

Ulster: W Addison; E McIlroy, J Hume, J Postlethwaite, J Stockdale; J Flannery, N Doak; A Warwick, J Andrew, M Moore; H Sheridan, I Henderson (capt); D McCann, Marcus Rea, N Timoney.

Replacements: S Wilson for Moore (25 mins), C Izuchukwu for Henderson (29 mins0, T Stewart for Andrew (48 mins), S Kitshoff for Warwick (52 mins), D Shanahan for Doak, L Marshall for Postlethwaite (both 59 mins), Matty Rea for Marcus Rea (70 mins).

Yellow card: Marshall (61 mins)

Referee: Federico Vedovelli (FIR)

  • See our new project Common Ground, Evolving Islands: Ireland & Britain
  • Sign up for push alerts and have the best news, analysis and comment delivered directly to your phone
  • Find The Irish Times on WhatsApp and stay up to date
  • Our In The News podcast is now published daily – Find the latest episode here