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Dublin: 16 °C Monday 1 September, 2014

Darren Cave the hero as Ulster edge gritty Ospreys clash

The centre stepped up to deliver a crucial score for Mark Anscombe’s men.

Craig Gilroy runs into an Ospreys road-block.
Craig Gilroy runs into an Ospreys road-block.
Image: INPHO/Presseye/Darren Kidd

Ulster 10

Ospreys 7

ULSTER COACH MARK ANSCOMBE may be sending Joe Schmidt a bottle of something bubbly after Darren Cave — released from Ireland duty on Thursday — scored the match-winning try against Ospreys.

Cave started at inside centre beside Jared Payne in the Ulster midfield and, on 45 minutes, showed superb sleight of hand and feet to outsmart the Welsh defence. His try turned a 7-3 half-time deficit into a 10-7 lead that the home side clung onto in the frantic, closing stages.

Ulster fell behind to an early Sam Lewis try at Ravenhill that was all down to a punched on pass from centre Jonathan Spratt and a jink inside by the openside flanker.

YouTube credit: RaboDirect PRO12

Ulster responded with a Ruan Pienaar penalty on 24 minutes and the home fans were screaming for a Michael Allen try but Ashley Beck did enough in the corner to shunt the winger out of play. Sam Davies and Pienaar traded missed penalty attempts and Ospreys led by four at the break.

Anscombe put lock Iain Henderson [also released from international duty] on from the start of the second half and the home side’s efforts paid off when Cave fooled the Welsh defence to canter over.

YouTube credit: RaboDirect PRO12

Pienaar added the extras and Anscombe was able to spring Paul Marshall, Tom Court and Luke Marshall from the bench in the final 20 minutes. Ospreys were close to scoring a late try on a couple of tight occasions but the white line held firm. The win elevates Ulster to second in the Pro12 table.

Ulster: R Andrew; C Gilroy, J Payne, D Cave, M Allen; J McKinney, R Pienaar; T Court, R Herring, J Afoa; J Muller (capt.), L Stevenson; R Diack, S Doyle, R Wilson.

Replacements: N Annett, C Black, R Lutton, I Henderson, N Williams, P Marshall, L Marshall, R Scholes.

Ospreys: S Davies; J Hassler, J Spratt (capt.), A Beck, A Natoga; M Morgan, T Habberfield; D Jones, S Baldwin, A Jarvis; L Peers, P Parker; T Ardron, S Lewis, J Bearman.

Replacements: M Dwyer, R Bevington, D Suter, D Baker, M Allen, T Tebaldi, R Fussell, E Walker.

Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU)

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