Monday 26 January 2015

Jackson kicks Ulster into famous comeback

HELD: Ulster’s Luke Marshall is tackled by Ryan Bevington of the Ospreys during their PRO12 game at Liberty Stadium.

Ireland candidate Paddy Jackson put his inconsistent goal-kicking behind him to shoot six-from-six in Ulster's outstanding 18-12 comeback against The Ospreys at The Liberty Stadium last night.

Jackson did Munster and Leinster a favour, into the bargain, by restricting Ospreys to a losing bonus-point, thus bringing the Welsh club within range of the winners of the Irish derby at Thomond Park this evening.

In a dreadful match pockmarked by constant mistakes, indecision and long, straight punting, it appeared Dan Biggar was the fly-half in control.

It was 3-0 to The Ospreys approaching half-time when Irish referee Peter Fitzgibbon changed his decision on the advice of his assistant official over an incident between Alun Wyn Jones and Dan Tuohy.

Out-half Biggar shot his second penalty and added two more in the 41st and 44th minutes for a 12-0 lead that turned a mole hill into a mountain given the wet weather conditions.

Then, Jackson stepped forward to whack penalties in the 40th, 52nd 54th and 65th minutes to draw the northerners level and looking the better outfit.

When the home side refused to retreat 10 metres from a miscued Tito Tebaldi garryowen, Jackson nailed an unlikely penalty and followed it with another superb effort on the angle in the 73rd minute.

Connacht could not secure the away win in Italy that would have taken them ahead of Benetton Treviso, going down 23-3 at Stadio Monigo.

The Westerners could only muster a Dan Parks penalty as they trailed 9-3 to three penalties by fly-half Alberto Di Bernardo, finally leaking tries to Alessandro Zanni and Luca Morisi.

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