Monday 18 December 2017

Ulster hang on to edge out Ospreys

ULSTER kept their PRO12 League play-off hopes alive against the Ospreys -- but only just -- with their 15-14 win taking them to fourth in the table with six regulation games to play.

The game ended in high drama when the Ospreys' Eli Walker snatched a late try and then nearly got in again at the death, which would have won it for the visitors and dented Ulster's play-off hopes.

However, the Welsh side left Ravenhill with a losing bonus point to remain in second.

Ruan Pienaar's long-range penalty fell short after 11 minutes but Ulster were rocked three minutes later when Pedrie Wannenburg was yellow-carded for apparently blocking a tap and go from Kahn Fotuali'i.

The Ospreys, second going into the match, took an early lead thanks to Joe Bearman's try, with Dan Biggar converting.

But a controversial penalty try -- with Biggar yellow-carded -- helped the home side lead 10-7 at half-time. Biggar was missing as Paddy Wallace (pictured) scored Ulster's second try but the home side had to hang on frantically after Walker's late try at Ravenhill.

Connacht end barren run in Gunners win

Connacht celebrated their first PRO12 victory since September as they put one over on their former head coach Michael Bradley with a 26-13 triumph.

Bradley's Edinburgh side struck for tries through Tim Visser and Chris Paterson, but the Irish province prevailed thanks largely to Niall O'Connor's 11 points from the boot.

The 4,324-strong crowd at the Sportsground watched the hosts end the first half with a 10-0 advantage, with Tongan international Fetu'u Vainikolo scoring his first league try.

Their lead was whittled down to just three points after Visser and Paterson touched down and replacement Phil Godman added a penalty.

But Eric Elwood's men finished the stronger -- replacement Matthew Jarvis kicked a penalty and converted Mike McCarthy's last-minute try.

McCarthy's score took the losing bonus point away from the Scots and ensured that Connacht overtook them, going from 11th to ninth in the league.

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