Pundits have their say on Ulster's season as they chase Pro12 play-off semi-final spot

Ulster v Ospreys action
Ulster battled to a slender 9-7 win over the Ospreys when then the sides met in the Pro12 in Belfast last October

BBC Sport NI pundits Eddie O'Sullivan, Tony McWhirter and Ian Humphreys analyse Ulster's prospects of reaching the Pro12 play-off semi-finals following their 22-20 loss to Munster.

Ulster lie just out of the top four in fifth position, with an away trip to the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium next up on 29 April.

The Irish province finish their regular season with a home interprovincial derby against table-topping Leinster at a sold-out Kingspan Stadium on 6 May, with both games live on BBC Two NI.

Eddie O'Sullivan (ex-Ireland coach)

"Ulster have self-imploded consistently throughout the season and made far too many unforced errors in their defeat by Munster.

"So many times with no pressure on them they turned the ball over with bad passing or losing the ball in the contact area.

"Munster didn't do anything special but kept the pressure on and took their chances. Ulster proved to be the gift that kept on giving.

"Lack of consistency has been their problem throughout the season and they have paid a heavy price for it. Inconsistency from game to game and within 80 minutes.

"They have played some great rugby at times and look like they can blow teams away, but then they go back into their shell, make mistakes and let the opposition back into the game. Sometimes just falling over the line, sometimes falling short.

"If they fail to make the semi-finals they have only themselves to blame as they can't claim that any team played them off the park because they are so much better than them.

"Ulster are right up there in terms of talent but they just haven't delivered."

Tony McWhirter (former Ulster back row)

"The unforced error count from Ulster against Munster was far too high and they look short of confidence in terms of knowing what to do at the right time. They look very flustered at times.

"Cardiff did them a huge favour by beating the Ospreys so it is still within Ulster's capability to make the last four and it's all to play for.

"Realistically, a win over the Ospreys is essential but Ulster will enjoy going to the Liberty Stadium at this time of year. It's a real hard footballing surface and they will go there with the intention of playing.

"That defeat by the Blues dealt a potentially huge psychological blow to the Ospreys and they will be without Alun Wyn Jones and possibly Dan Biggar, who are two crucial weapons for them."

Ian Humphreys (ex-Ulster fly-half)

"It sometimes feels like Ulster don't quite know how they want to play but if they can put in a decent performance for 80 minutes I can see them beating the Ospreys and then they would still be in with a chance going into the Leinster game.

"Ulster don't have the biggest pack in terms of ball carriers so sometimes you are left wondering how they are going to get across the gain-line, which is vital to attacking play.

"The bonus point picked up against Munster may yet prove crucial and we saw last year how Ulster went to the Ospreys and turned them over, albeit the Ospreys had nothing to play for on that occasion."

Eddie O'Sullivan, Tony McWhirter and Ian Humphreys were speaking on BBC Radio Ulster.

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