Guinness PRO14 Monday wrap: Ulster return to Europe’s top table

Charlie Talbot-Smith
21 May 2018

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Ulster secured their spot in next year’s European Champions Cup with a dominant display on Sunday, downing the Ospreys 35-17.

Craig Gilroy bagged a double for the hosts who sent off their departing stars on a high after a tough campaign.

  • Alun Wyn Jones opened the scoring for the Welsh region
  • Dan Biggar, on his final game for the visitors, had a tough day from the kicking tee
  • Ulster take control around the interval with two opportunistic tries from Craig Gilroy
  • The retiring Robbie Diack goes off to a rapturous reception in the second half at the Kingspan Stadium
  • Kieran Treadwell goes over to put the Irish province in total control as John Cooney impresses from the tee
  • Jeff Hassler pulls one back for the Ospreys before Jacob Stockdale responds to seal the tie
  • Still time for Dan Biggar to dot down – becoming the highest scorer in Championship history in the process – for Allen Clarke’s side, who leave it too late and will be in the European Challenge Cup next season

What they said

Departing Ulster head coach Jono Gibbes:

“I’m happy with the scoreboard but also the manner in which we played that game. It was a massive effort from the players and a credit to their desire and work-rate.

“The pre-game warm-up was a complete disaster and they adapted and got on with it, so I am very pleased with that.

“There are things that go along with playing at that level, but the driver has been about playing a marker of desire and work rate for each other.”

Alun Wyn Jones:

“I’m very disappointed, we didn’t make the changes we needed to.

“We got what we deserved in the second half and it is bitterly disappointing.

“I don’t know about soul searching, but the inconsistency has been there all season, we have tried to correct it and tried too hard at times.

“It is the end of the season now, but there were a lot of guys that were here and weren’t here that made huge contributions.”

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