12 Dec, 11:30
The Ireland Under-19 team to face Australia Schools at Ravenhill this Saturday afternoon (kick-off 2.30pm) has been announced.
Paddy Jackson's six second half penalties trumped the four from his opposite number Dan Biggar, as the Ulstermen repeated their victory at the Swansea venue from last season.
The young out-half's finest kicking performance in an Ulster jersey to date lifted Mark Anscombe's men up to third in the RaboDirect PRO12 standings - two points behind the Ospreys and a mere single point behind early pacesetters Glasgow Warriors.
The first half was a scrappy affair played out in slippery conditions, which the visitors just edged in terms of possession, territory and opportunities.
However, the Ulstermen also topped the count for errors and penalties conceded, and they were disappointed to run off at half-time with nothing to show for their efforts.
Ulster more than held their own during the match's opening salvo, soaking up early Ospreys pressure before crafting together an impressive string of passes from right to left and back again, making good yardage through Darren Cave in particular before they knocked on.
Craig Gilroy limped off with an ankle injury on 13 minutes to make way for David McIlwaine at full-back, but the scoreboard remained blank until the 20-minute mark, when Biggar broke the deadlock with a central penalty.
Ulster did their best to strike back instantly, Nick Williams and Dan Tuohy pounding the Ospreys defence in trademark fashion, but the Welsh side resisted with equal force until the attack ran out of space on the left wing and McIlwaine knocked on under pressure.
Several opportunities came and went as Ulster continued to enjoy the lion's share of the ball, but a late infringement by Tuohy - pulled up for grappling Alun Wyn Jones around the neck in a ruck - allowed Biggar to double the hosts' tally (6-0) just before the break.
The Ospreys number 10 extended the Welsh region's lead barely 60 seconds into the second period after Michael Allen had strayed offside from Paul Marshall's clearance kick, despite vocal warnings from referee Peter Fitzgibbon.
Then, when Luke Marshall failed to roll away in the tackle on 43 minutes, Biggar compounded the Ulster misery with another penalty - this one an exemplary effort from just inside the visitors' half.
Marshall was shortly withdrawn as a result of the impact of his previous tackle, bringing Stuart Olding - so impressive at centre last term - into the fray for his first run-out of the season.
Jackson then launched the Ulster revival on 49 minutes with a well-taken penalty of his own after an infringement by Adam Jones.
The Ireland international swiftly closed the gap to six points courtesy of a further kick in the 53rd minute, with Joe Bearman penalised for being offside at the lineout.
With Iain Henderson thrown into the mix in place of Robbie Diack, Jackson then capitalised on a collapsed Ospreys scrum to kick over three more points.
As Ulster began to find their swagger in the final quarter, good ball-carrying from the replacement back rower on three occasions in the same move eventually earned Jackson his fourth penalty of the half, dispatched without fuss in the 65th minute.
Although honours were now even at 12-all, Ulster had tellingly scored all their points in a prolific 15-minute period, and were clearly in the ascendancy.
With Jackson in such fine kicking form, the out-half had the confidence to go for the posts from well outside his usual range in the 73rd minute when the Ospreys were ruled offside, and his self belief proved well-founded as the penalty sailed over from a good 45 metres out.
The Ospreys were reduced to 14 men with just five minutes remaining, with replacement prop Aaron Jarvis paying the price for repeated infringements by his team-mates - his failure to roll away in the tackle saw him yellow carded.
Jackson delivered the goods once again with a curling kick from the left wing, and although Olding soon joined Jarvis in the sin-bin for the same offence, Ulster resisted the inevitable Ospreys onslaught to run down the clock deep in their own 22.
Jackson's virtuoso performance with the right boot, coupled with the solid team performance - and the imminent return of star men Ruan Pienaar and John Afoa - should put Ulster in confident mood for next Friday's Heineken Cup opener against Leicester Tigers at Ravenhill.
|Ospreys Score Card|
|Ulster Rugby Score Card|