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Dan Edwards snatches victory for Ospreys over Ulster with last-minute drop-goal

By PA
SWANSEA, WALES - FEBRUARY 18: Dan Edwards of Ospreys scores a drop kick during the United Rugby Championship match between the Ospreys and Ulster at Swansea.Com Stadium on February 18, 2024 in Swansea, Wales. (Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images)

Dan Edwards scored a brilliant last-minute drop-goal to earn Ospreys a dramatic 19-17 win over Ulster and give a much-needed boost to the Welsh regions.

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After weekend defeats for Cardiff, Scarlets and Dragons, a fourth Welsh loss looked likely until Edwards’ late intervention at the Swansea.com Stadium.

Fly-half Edwards finished with 14 points, adding his match-winning drop-goal to three penalties and the conversion of a try from Keiran Williams, as Ospreys joined their mid-table opponents on six wins from 10 games.

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Marcus Rea and Tom Stewart scored Ulster’s tries, with Nathan Doak converting both and Jake Flannery adding a late penalty which had briefly looked like snatching victory for the visitors.

Ospreys had the first chance for points but Edwards fired wide with a 40-metre penalty attempt and that was the only moment of interest in an error-ridden and scoreless first quarter.

The home side had marginally the better of that opening period, putting their opponents under considerable pressure in the scrums, but Ulster should have taken the lead.

The Irish province were presented with a simple kick at goal, but Jake Flannery chose a quickly-taken cross-field kick which Jacob Stockdale was unable to collect to secure the touchdown.

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Ulster suffered an injury blow when prop Marty Moore was forced to leave the field and they soon received another setback when Edwards kicked Ospreys into the lead with a 29th-minute penalty.

The visitors’ woes continued when their captain and Ireland international Iain Henderson became their second forward to depart with injury.

However, Ulster regrouped to score the opening try in the 34th minute. They won three penalties in quick succession and were rewarded when Rea finished off a succession of forward drives.

Doak converted before Edwards kicked his second penalty to leave Ospreys trailing 7-6 at the interval.

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Eight minutes after the restart, Ospreys lost Morgan Morse to a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on, but the next score went the way of the hosts when Edwards kicked a third penalty.

James Ratti became the second Ospreys player sent to the sin bin and the home side down to 13, Ulster capitalised when Stewart finished off a line-out drive.

But the game swung again when Ulster replacement Luke Marshall was yellow-carded within two minutes of entering the field and the hosts made them pay with a superb breakout try.

Deep in the Ospreys 22, a poor pass from Flannery was intercepted by Jack Walsh who sent Edwards away on a 55-metre run. The outside half was chased down by Flannery but his pass found Williams who ran unopposed to the line, with Edwards adding the extras to make it 16-14 to Ospreys heading the final 10 minutes.

Ospreys must have feared the worse when Ulster reclaimed the lead with five minutes remaining when Flannery knocked over a superb penalty from inside his half, but Edwards had other ideas as his late drop-goal sealed the spoils for the hosts.

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Jon 1 days ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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