In the opening minutes of the match the Ospreys took advantage of Ulster indiscipline as the home side gave away 4 penalties within the first 14 minutes. Fly-half James Hook was on target for his first two penalty kicks of the night taking the lead after 11 minutes and further extending it minutes later to put the visitors 6 points ahead.
Ulster's rising star Niall O'Connor put the first Ulster points on the scoreboard following an Ospreys infringement at a ruck with a well placed penalty bringing the score to Ulster 3 v Ospreys 6.
As the first half progressed neither side could gain the advantage. Both made some good breaks but failed to break through the opposition defense until with 37 minutes on the clock Simon Danielli produced a speedy run from the 10 meter line to touchdown for Ulster in the corner.
O'Connor failed to convert the difficult conversion but the Ulstermen still took the lead for the first time in the match. Ospreys fly half Hook failed to regain his sides lead as the first half drew to a close, missing a penalty shot from just inside the Ulster half.
Half Time score Ulster 8 v Ospreys 6
As the second half got underway Ospreys turned up the pressure and the visitors produced the second try of the night with Ospreys securing five points 10 minutes after the restart through a well-rehearsed line-out routine, number eight Filo Tiatia fed fellow Kiwi Justin Marshall and the scrum-half ran through for a match-winning try. Hook converted taking the score to Ulster 8 - 16 Ospreys.
With two of Ulster's locks sin binned in the last 25 minutes of the second half Ulster played 20 minutes with 14 men and sorely missed the strength in the pack, the score remained at 8-16 for the final whistle and while Ulster did not gain a losing bonus point they dented the Welsh side's hopes of finishing top of Pool Two after Lyn Jones' squad failed to secure a bonus point win as they chase pool leaders Gloucester.
Ulster Captain Rory Best was named the Heineken Man of the Match and was pleased with his sides display "It was a marked improvement from last week," he said.
"We identified a lot of flaws in last weekend's performance. We knew we had to improve. We knew we had to show heart and aggression and I believe we did that tonight."
"We haven't performed at times this season; we haven't had the edge we need at this level."
"Tonight showed we have the ability to match it with the bigger boys. We know we have a long way to go and we have to keep working hard every day."
Ulster: Cunningham, Bowe, Trimble, Dewey, Danielli, O'Connor, Campbell, B. Young, R. Best, D. Fitzpatrick, Harrison, Caldwell, N. Best, Dawson, McCullough.
Replacements: Miles, Court, del Fava, Pollock, Boss, P. Wallace, McCrea.
Ospreys: Byrne, Walker, Taylor, Parker, S. Williams, Hook, Marshall, D. Jones, Bennett, A. Jones, Wyn-Jones, Evans, Thomas, Holah, Tiatia.
Replacements: Hibbard, James, Gough, T-Pole, Phillips, Connor, A. Bishop.
Referee: Malcolm Changleng (Scotland).
|Ulster Rugby Score Card|
|Ospreys Score Card|