Ospreys open up Ulster

The Ospreys kept their European Cup quarter-final hopes alive on Friday with a seven-try, 48-17 demolition of 1999 champions Ulster as former All Black Justin Marshall served up a man-of-the-match performance.


The win came at the end of a traumatic week for the Welsh region who were without controversial star Gavin Henson who broke a bone in his hand last weekend and was then involved in a post-match rumpus on a train.

Early tries from centre Sonny Parker, his third in the tournament this season, and scrum-half Marshall put the Ospreys in charge.

Ulster scored tries through Isaac Boss and Simon Danielli but the defeat was their third loss in three matches in Pool 2 this season.

Further tries by lock Alun-Wyn Jones and skipper Filo Tiatia guaranteed the Ospreys’ maximum points to stay in touch with group pace-setters Gloucester who beat Bourgoin 31-7.

Wing Nikki Walker added a fifth touchdown before full-back Lee Byrne and Walker again completed Ulster’s misery, with fly-half James Hook booting five conversions and a penalty.

Ospreys coach Lyn Jones said: “We are satisfied with the result. It was a good night for us.

“You cannot win the European Cup before Christmas, but you can certainly lose it, and we just need to keep the pressure on Gloucester.

Rugby is about confidence, and things are building slowly.” Gloucester made it three wins in three with a bonus-point victory away to Bourgoin.

The English side led 17-0 at half-time thanks to Anthony Allen and James Simpson-Daniel tries.

Ryan Lamb grabbed their third score and although Julien Frier crossed for the hosts, Andy Titterrell grabbed the crucial fourth try in injury-time.

In Pool 6, Leinster beat Edinburgh 28-14 but failed to secure a bonus point in a group which also features former champions Leicester and Toulouse.

Tries from Jamie Heaslip and Keith Gleeson helped the home side into a 18-3 lead by half-time.

John Houston’s try gave Edinburgh hope and the visitors were still within a score of Leinster as Felip Contepomi and Phil Godman swapped penalties.

Contepomi’s try extended Leinster’s lead but the fourth try proved elusive.

Final Score Ospreys 48 Ulster 17

Ospreys (15) 48
Tries: Parker, Marshall, A W Jones, Tiatia, Walker 2, Byrne
Cons: Hook 5
Pens: Hook

Ulster (3) 17
Tries: Boss, Danielli
Cons: Wallace 2
Pens: Wallace

Ospreys: Lee Byrne; Nikki Walker, Mark Taylor, Sonny Parker, Shane Williams; James Hook, Justin Marshall; Duncan Jones, Huw Bennett, Adam Jones, Alun Wyn Jones, Ian Evans, Jonathan Thomas, Marty Holah, Filo Tiatia (capt).


Replacements: Richard Hibbard for Bennett (46), Cai Griffiths for Adam Jones (69), Ian Gough for Tiatia (53), Ben Lewis for Holah (69), Mike Phillips for Marshall (64), Shaun Connor for S. Williams (74), Andrew Bishop for Parker (65).


Ulster: B Cunningham; T Bowe, A Trimble, P Steinmetz, S Danielli; P Wallace, I Boss; J Fitzpatrick, R Best (capt), B Young, J Harrison, C del Fava, N Best, D Pollock, M McCullough.

Replacements: D Fitzpatrick for J. Fitzpatrick (64), M Miles for R. Best (75), R Caldwell for Harrison (59), K Dawson, K Campbell for Boss (72), N O’Connor for Danielli (70), R Dewey for Steinmetz (59).

Referee: Chris White (England).
Att: 8,082



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