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Ulster fall 37-24 to free-running Ospreys

Ulster fall 37-24 to free-running Ospreys

Ulster were unable to contain a free-running Ospreys side, who earned a bonus point win at Ravenhill to return to the top of the Celtic League.

Ulster were unable to contain a free-running Ospreys side, who earned a bonus point win at Ravenhill to return to the top of the Celtic League.

The game began with Ulster playing with the strong wind at their backs and indeed Ulster started brightly with everybody keen to get their hands on the ball.

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Both teams then wrestled to take control of the game and things looked brighter for the men in white when Roger Wilson burst through the Ospreys defence and went on a charge for all of 50 metres, when Wilson was eventually hauled down 5 yards shorts of the line he showed great vision to pop up to Humphreys, he in turn off-loaded to Paul Shields who took the ball into contact and with great sleight of hand passed to Kevin Maggs who crashed over the line on 34 mins, taking a couple of Ospreys defenders with him for a well taken try on his home debut.

That left Ulster sitting pretty at half-time with a comfortable 14-0 lead. Nobody could have predicted what was to happen in the second half. The referee blew the whistle for the game to restart and no more than 20 seconds into the second half, Shane Williams had clawed one back for the visitors after he beat Humphreys and Shields for pace and side stepped Cunningham to go under the sticks. Henson converted.

Five minutes later the scores were level when outside centre David Bishop broke through the Ulster defence in the middle of the park and put the ball down just to the right of the posts, again Henson converted. Things went from bad to worse for Ulster as The Ospreys took the lead after 49 mins when winger Tevita Tiueti went over for another score, again Henson added the extra points to leave the score now 14-21.

This seemed to kick-start Ulster as they went on the attack, the Ulster pack drove up to the 22 and the ball was quickly spun out to Humphreys who put in a high cross field kick. Tommy Bowe was up extremely quickly and out jumped Shane Williams, the ball eventually nestled in the hands of substitute Campbell Feather who dived over in the corner to reduce the deficit on 61 mins.

A difficult conversion attempt from the touch line followed for David Humphreys, he stepped up and struck the ball sweetly between the uprights.

This was as good as it got for Ulster and the Ospreys took the lead again on 64 mins when Henson knocked over a huge penalty from well inside his own half. The visitors secured the bonus point with their fourth try, another breakthrough by inside centre Sonny Parker, another Henson place kick followed.

A Humphreys penalty was cancelled out by another Henson effort. Henson then finished the game by striking a drop goal in the final minute.