Ospreys 19-17 Ulster: Dramatic Edwards Drop Goal Wins Tight URC Fixture - Ruck

Ospreys 19-17 Ulster: Dramatic Edwards Drop Goal Wins Tight URC Fixture

By Etienne Turpin

The Ospreys claimed a huge win their 10th round clash against Ulster, as Dan Edwards’ 80th minute drop goal saw the home side to win their fifth game in a row. A long range try finished off by Kieran Williams and 14 points from the boot of Edwards helped the Ospreys beat Ulster, and overtake them in the URC league table.

The Ospreys welcomed back captain Justin Tipuric for the first time since November and fielded two debutants, as former Cheetahs Evardi Boshoff and Victor Seketeke were named in the starting XV. Evardi was originally named on the bench but injury to loanee Dom Morris meant that the South African was placed in the starting team.

The Ospreys were on a run of four successive victories in both the URC and the Challenge Cup whereas Ulster came into the game on the back of 2 heavy defeats in Europe, including a 24-point home defeat to five time European champions, Stade Toulousain.

The home side had an opportunity to score the first points of the game, a penalty from 40 metres out. However, Dan Edwards was unable to give his side the lead. Ulster; who have the lowest line-out success in the URC, were penalised when John Andrew took too long to throw the ball. Although they regathered the ball, their first attempt was a poor one. Ulster, who boasted a strong scrum this season, were punished by the Ospreys pack and gained an important penalty as they looked to assert dominance.

Ulster’s line-out woes carried on and despite the fine weather in South Wales, the second quarter of the first half saw both sides make numerous errors resulting in many scrums. But it was the away side which almost opened the scoring after 20 minutes. The Ospreys were penalised for not rolling away, and Nathan Doak took a quick penalty, yet Jacob Stockdale was unable to control the scrum-half’s cross field kick.

The Ospreys pack continued to dominate the scrums, the experienced Nicky Smith and Tom Botha pushing back the Ulster scrum with brute strength. The resulting penalty on halfway resulted in a 5m lineout thanks to a brilliant kick. The resulting scrum saw Marty Moore get replaced by Scott Wilson.  

The try of the game was finally scored just before the half hour mark, as Dan Edwards slotted a simple penalty from just outside the 22. The Ulster defence was strong and had pushed the home side back 20 metres and so would’ve been satisfied with their defensive efforts. But Ulster were dealt a huge blow soon after, as captain Iain Henderson was forced off the field, the second row was down injured earlier in the game.

But Ulster responded in fine fashion just 3 minutes later when Marcus Rea crashed over from close range. The Ospreys gave away two penalties which were kicked to the corner and eventually the try line was breached. Doak added the extras with a simple conversion. The home side didn’t take long to narrow the lead as Dan Edwards penalty from over 40 metres sailed over between the posts.

Ulster had one more opportunity before the break, but the strong Ospreys defence meant that the half time score at the Swansea.com Stadium saw Ulster lead the Ospreys by a single point, 7-6. All points coming in the final 10 minutes of the half.

The end of the first half saw Ulster beginning to take control of the match and their dominance carried on at the start of the second half, with the Ospreys saw key man, Morgan Morse heading to the sin bin. Despite a strong maul which looked certain to result in a try, the ball was unable to be grounded, resulting in a goal line drop out.

Despite being a man down, the Ospreys were strong and determined in defence, and forced an eventual error from Doak. Two-time Rugby World Cup winner Steven Kitshoff then came off the bench to add more muscle to the Ulster pack but was instantly penalised at a ruck, allowing the Ospreys to move into the Ulster 22. Ill-discipline began to creep in for Ulster who were once again penalised in front of the posts.

From right in front of the posts Dan Edwards put the Ospreys back in the lead despite being a man down. The Ospreys were then briefly down to 13 men as James Ratti was deemed to have tripped up Jake Flannery. And with the two extra men, Ulster’s maul was too much to handle for the Ospreys, who were down two forwards, and Tom Stewart crossed over from a maul to score his eighth try of the season. The touchline conversion from Nathan Doak was inch perfect and Ulster led by 5 points.

Ulster then found themselves a man down as Luke Marshall, who only just came on, was sin binned as Ulster gave away too many penalties. The home side looked to respond quickly but the ball spat out of a ruck, and hooker Tom Stewart was quickest to respond. He gathered the ball before sending it down field. An excellent kick chase forced Keelan Giles into touch. But they were unable to to add more points and were punished brilliantly.

An interception deep in the 22 from Jack Walsh, and quick hands from Walsh and Protheroe saw Dan Edwards break clear. The flyhalf stumbled as he entered the Ulster 22 before offloading to Kieran Williams who finished off an excellent counter attacking try. The successful conversion from Edwards meant that the Ospreys regained the lead with less than 15 minutes to play.

The Ospreys were now controlling the game and Rhys Henry pounced on a loose ball before sending it down field. Tipuric showed great pace to put pressure on Ulster’s James Hume before the Ospreys were awarded a penalty. They wasted the lineout but an Ulster knock on gave them a second chance but a pack containing a World Cup winner applied heavy pressure on the Ospreys and they were awarded a penalty as the Ospreys were caught sealing off.

With five minutes to go, Ulster were awarded a penalty just inside their half when Harri Deaves was penalised for a no arms tackle., in front of the posts and Jake Flannery pointed to the sticks. The kick from 51 metres was just about long enough and the Belfast based side retook the lead.

However, there was more to come. With less than 10 seconds to go Dan Edwards slotted a drop goal from over 30 metres away too send the home crowd wild. Another win for the Ospreys who now go five games unbeaten. This victory meant that Ospreys leap frogged Ulster into seventh place in the URC.

Speaking to Viaplay sports after the final whistle, head coach Toby Booth said that the Ospreys don’t know when it’s beaten. Comparing the victory to the one in Johannesburg a few weeks back, when late scores helped the Ospreys win a thriller against the Lions. He mentioned the importance of “effort-based plays” which they pride themselves on.

The Ospreys travel to Edinburgh hoping to claim a 6th successive victory in 2 weeks’ time as the Six Nations returns next weekend whereas Ulster host the Dragons up in Belfast.

Ospreys: 19

TRIES: 1 (Williams 65’)

CONVERSIONS: 1 (Edwards 66’)

PENALTIES: 3 (Edwards 30’, 37’, 56’)

DROP GOALS: 1 (Edwards 80’)

YELLOW CARDS: 2 (Morse 48’, Ratti 58’)


15. Jack Walsh, 14. Mat Protheroe, 13. Evardi Boshoff, 12. Kieran Williams, 11. Keelan Giles, 10. Dan Edwards, 9. Reuben Morgan-Williams, 1. Nicky Smith, 2. Sam Parry, 3. Tom Botha, 4. James Ratti, 5. Victor Sekekete, 6. Harri Deaves, 7. Justin Tipuric, 8. Morgan Morse.

16. Lewis Lloyd, 17. Rhys Henry, 18, Ben Warren, 19. Lewis Jones, 20. Will Hickey, 21. Cameron Jones, 22. Alex Cuthbert, 23. Tom Florence

Ulster: 17

TRIES: 2 (Rea 34’, Stewart 58’)

CONVERSIONS: 1 (Doak 35’ 59’)

PENALTIES: 1 (Flannery 76’)


YELLOW CARDS: 1 (Marshall 62’)


15, Will Addison, 14. Ethan McIlroy, 13. James Hume, 12. Jude Postletwaite, 11. Jacob Stockdale, 10. Jake Flannery, 9. Nathan Doak, 1. Andrew Warwick, 2. John Andrew, 3. Marty Moore, 4. Harry Sheridan, 5. Iain Henderson, 6. David McCann, 7. Marcus Rea, 8. Nick Timoney.

16. Tom Stewart, 17. Steven Kitshoff, 18. Scott Wilson, 19. Cormac Izuchukwu, 20. Matty Rea, 21. Dave Shanahan, 22. Luke Marshall, 23. Rob Baloucoune

Five Talking Points.

1. Ice Cold Dan Edwards is game winner.

The young flyhalf produced the game winning moment with seconds left to play. The Ospreys wasted no time in attempting a drop goal and the flyhalf kept his composure to slot the winning kick between the posts. An excellent all round performance from the 10 helped the Ospreys to a huge win.

2. Ospreys welcome back key figures.

Big names returned for the home side today as Justin Tipuric and Alex Cuthbert made a return to action. Tipuric was once again influential in both attack and defence. Cuthbert made an important tackle on Stockdale as Ulster looked to seal the win late on.

3. Ospreys show their flair in attack

Going into the game, the Ospreys led the URC table in offload percentages. When Walsh intercepted Flannery’s pass, quick hands from the fullback and wing Mat Protheroe sent fly half and POTM winner Dan Edwards down the pitch. He was unable to score but again, offloaded to eventual try score Kieran Williams.

4. Ospreys enter play off spot.

Despite the number of injuries to key players and a number of youth players, the Welsh side won once again. The Swansea.com stadium turning into a fortress as they remain unbeaten since November.

5. Third successive defeat for Ulster sees them fall down the table.

Ulster started the season with 5 wins in 6 games, but their form has gone downhill ever since and a 3rd defeat in 5 URC matches sees them sit in 8th spot. The Ulstermen having also lost back-to-back European games find themselves in a difficult run of form.