A dominant second half performance against a poor Ospreys side fired Ulster into the Champions Cup next season.

Craig Gilroy brace either side of the interval as well as scores from Kieran Treadwell and Jacob Stockdale were enough despite three tries from the Ospreys.

An eerie Kingspan Stadium let out a sigh of disappointment as Charles Piutau and Ross Kane were both ruled out due to injury before the game and the 6,500-strong crowd sensed a tough afternoon ahead at the Kingspan Stadium. Apathy drove many supporters away from the side with many absentee fans unhappy at Shane Logan remaining in charge at Ulster Rugby.

Ulster conceded their first try 16 minutes into the match as Alun Wyn Jones crossed in a rolling maul. Another setback was to come when Louis Ludik was carried off four minutes later. Cooney narrowed the deficit to four points with a penalty but Ulster’s appalling kicking was giving away side the ball in promising positions.

Craig Gilroy gathered a Luke Marshall grubber to dot down in the corner. Jacob Stockdale broke the defensive line off first phase which left the Ospreys defence scrambling and a wraparound created the space for Marshall to perfectly weight the ball into the right hand corner for Craig Gilroy to score.

The former Methody man added his second try a minute after the interval. Cooney intercepted an attempted wraparound from the Ospreys on the half way like and Gilroy had enough pace to get onto a Johnny McPhillips kick ahead of Dan Biggar.

Ulster turned the pressure up a notch in the second half and a faster defensive line forced the Ospreys into mistakes through tackles from Stockdale and Gilroy. A fumble from the Ospreys over their own line gave Ulster a five metre scrum. After successive phases Kieran Treadwell picked a weak shoulder and scored to open up a 15 point lead with a successful conversion.

James Hook should have scored a try but for a great tackle from Luke Marshall, who injured himself in the process. Jeff Hassler crossed to give the away side a glimmer of hope but John Cooney extended the lead to 25-12 with a penalty.

Another Cooney penalty followed before Stockdale intercepted a Dan  pass for the second time this season to put the game beyond doubt. Biggar grabbed a consolation try near the end of the game and smacked the upright with the conversion attempt for the third time in the match.

6.6 Awesome

Ulster dealt with the threat at the breakdown from the Ospreys well as Justin Tipuric struggled to get into the game. The back row combination of Robbie Diack, Sean Reidy and Nick Timoney combined well with Reidy making a nuisance of himself on the deck and Timoney once again stepping up in a ball carrying capacity.
John Cooney collected his fourth man of the match award in what has been a incredible season for the former Connacht player and his timely interception was the highlight of his performance while Luke Marshall defended the outside channel well.
Both wingers were very good in defence with Stockdale putting in a few big tacklers on his opposite number to quieten his naysayers.
Drafted in at late notice due to the injury to Ross Kane, Tom O'Toole continued to show that he has a big future ahead of him, while Timoney's ball carrying was impressive.

  • Callum Black 6
  • Rob Herring 7
  • Tom O'Toole 7
  • Alan O'Connor 6
  • Kieran Treadwell 6
  • Robbie Diack 6
  • Sean Reidy 7
  • Nick Timoney 7
  • John Cooney 8
  • Johnny McPhillips 6
  • Jacob Stockdale 7
  • Stuart McCloskey 6
  • Luke Marshall 7
  • Craig Gilroy 7
  • Louis Ludik 6
  • John Andrew N/A
  • Andy Warwick 7
  • Rodney Ah You N/A
  • Jack Regan N/A
  • Chris Henry 6
  • Dave Shanahan N/A
  • Darren Cave 6
  • David Busby 7
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