Myler boots Ospreys to victory over Ulster
URC MATCH REPORT: Ospreys flyhalf Stephen Myler kicked 14 points to steer his side to a hard-fought 19-13 victory over Ulster in Swansea.
The home side had to rely on an heroic defence, led by back-rowers Morgan Morris and Jac Morgan, to restrict their opponents to one penalty try, despite the visitors dominating in terms of possession and territory.
Morris scored the Ospreys’ only try, with Myler kicking four penalties and a conversion.
Ulster – 20-10 victors at Leinster last weekend – responded with their penalty try and John Cooney added two penalties.
Dan Evans was a late withdrawal for the Ospreys with a hip injury, before the home side came firmly under the cosh in the opening stages.
The Ospreys, who beat Munster in their last home fixture, conceded six penalties in the opening 13 minutes as Ulster battered the home defence, but somehow the hosts kept their line intact.
It therefore took a penalty try award for Ulster to open their account, with Luke Morgan being adjudged to have deliberately knocked on to prevent a try.
Morgan was yellow-carded before Myler and Cooney exchanged penalties to leave the Ospreys trailing 3-10 at the end of the first quarter.
Morgan returned from the sin bin before the Ospreys suffered a further injury blow when Evans’ replacement, Max Nagy, left the field with a shoulder injury to be replaced by Gareth Anscombe.
The second quarter was vastly different to the first, with the Ospreys benefiting from a number of penalties in their favour to have an equal share of the contest, and they drew level when Morris stormed over from close range.
Myler converted and kicked a penalty as Ulster lost Welsh international hooker Bradley Roberts to a leg injury, leaving the visitors to wonder how they trailed 13-10 at the interval.
Five minutes after the restart, Ulster brought on international prop Jack McGrath for his first appearance in over a year as Dan McFarland’s side resumed their domination.
Cooney and Myler exchanged penalties as the second half mirrored the first and the Ospreys grew in influence as the half progressed.
Myler kicked a fourth penalty after the visitors’ scrum had infringed and the home side went on pick up a valuable four points, which for large parts of the match looked highly unlikely.
Pens: Myler 4
Try: Penalty Try
Pens: Cooney 2
Yellow card: Luke Morgan (Ospreys, 15)
Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Michael Collins, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Luke Morgan, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Rhys Webb (captain), 8 Morgan Morris, 7 Jac Morgan, 6 Will Griffiths, 5 Bradley Davies, 4 Rhys Davies, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Gareth Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Jack Regan, 20 Ethan Roots, 21 Reuben Morgan-Williams, 22 Gareth Anscombe, 23 Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler.
Ulster: 15 Mike Lowry, 14 Robert Baloucoune, 13 Angus Curtis, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Ethan McIlroy, 10 Billy Burns, 9 John Cooney, 8 David McCann, 7 Nick Timoney, 6 Sean Reidy, 5 Alan O’Connor (captain), 4 Kieran Treadwell, 3 Tom O’Toole, 2 Bradley Roberts, 1 Eric O’Sullivan.
Replacements: 16 Tom Stewart, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Marty Moore, 19 Mick Kearney, 20 Marcus Rea, 21 Nathan Doak, 22 Stewart Moore, 23 Craig Gilroy.
Referee: Sam Grove-White (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Gwyn Morris (Wales), Aaron Parry (Wales)
TMO: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland)