Ulster suffer last-minute heartbreak as Ospreys soar

Dan Edwards drop-goal gives Welsh side the points

Ulster hooker's Tom Stewart try-scoring exploits last season earned him a place in the Ireland training squad ahead of the Rugby World Cup
Tom Stewart scored a try on a disappointing day for Ulster Tom Stewart

BKT United Rugby Championship Ospreys 19 Ulster 17

ULSTER were left heartbroken as Dan Edwards scored a brilliant last-minute drop-goal to earn Ospreys a dramatic 19-17 win and give a much-needed boost to the Welsh regions.

After weekend defeats for Cardiff, Scarlets and Dragons, a fourth Welsh loss looked likely until Edwards’ late intervention at the Stadium.

Fly-half Edwards finished with 14 points, adding his match-winning drop-goal to three penalties and the conversion of a try from Keiran Williams, as Ospreys joined their mid-table opponents on six wins from 10 games.

Marcus Rea and Tom Stewart scored Ulster’s tries, with Nathan Doak converting both and Jake Flannery adding a late penalty which had briefly looked like snatching victory for the visitors.

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 Jake Flannery chose a quickly-taken cross-field kick which Jacob 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 Iain 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.

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.

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.