ULSTER’S YOUNG REPLACEMENT half backs provided the late spark needed to overcome the Neath- Swansea Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium tonight.
The northern province trailed the reigning Pro12 champions 13-3 entering the final 25 minutes.
Paddy Jackson was on the field only minutes a a replacement for Niall O’Connor when he was landed his first chance off the kicking tee.
Now the province’s first choice number 10, Jackson landed another score after 68 minutes to narrow the gap to four points.
His fellow substitutes also had a massive part to play as ulster left it late to assert some physical dominance through expert drives from Tom Court and John Afoa.
From one such front foot, Paul Marshall was afforded the chance to scoop the ball up and dive for the line – a quick check with the TMO before the visitors’ first lead of the game was confirmed.
Jackson converted the score to put his side 13-16 ahead after 75 minutes and they seen out the final minutes to win their second game of the new season.
The young man’s assured goal-kicking will have been a welcome relief for the Heineken Cup finalists after two shaky displays from O’Connor. The returnee from Connacht managed one three-pointer to keep ulster in touch midway through the first half, but missed three other attempts before Jackson was called upon.
In good Nick
Ospreys coach Steve Tandy had named a strong outfit for this encounter, but they only led 7-3 at the break through Hanno Dirksen’s 24th minute try.
After the turnaround fly-half Matthew Morgan added two further penalties before both sides began to look towards the bench.
Ulster number eight Nick Williams was awarded man of the match as he laid down another marker in this clash. After the Kiwi’s powerful display at home to Glasgow warriors last Friday night, Roger Wilson will have to be at his best to oust the former Munster and Aironi back-row.