DTH van der Merwe’s late try sees Glasgow pip Ulster at Scotstoun
Touchline conversion from Finn Russell seals win for Scottish side
Glasgow outhalf Finn Russell converts DTH van der Merwe’s late try to put his side in the lead in their Guinness Pro 12 game against Ulster at Scotstown. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Glasgow Warriors 16 Ulster 14Finn Russell
By coincidence Glasgow achieved the same points total in last season’s semi final against Munster and last night Warriors will to win was no less. Yet it looked for much of the match that Ulster would prevail and claim a place in next Saturday’s final at their own Kingspan Stadium.
Ulster had rested their front-line players for last week’s final league game between the sides and and for much of the match the ploy appeared to pay off as the Belfast side looked the stronger in the scrums and more aggressive at the contact area.
And then there was Ruan Pienaar’s contribution off the tee and his box kicking from the base of the scrum which appeared to be giving Ulster a massive advantage.
Ulster’s clever kick-off gave the Belfast team immediate possession and immediate points after Glasgow were penalised at the first ruck, allowing Pienaar to claim early points. But two minutes later Russell delivered a similar penalty kick to level the scores.
Both sides were using the ball well both with the boot and through the hands but when Ulster’s handling proved faulty Glasgow won a penalty at the resultant scrum and from within his own half Warriors fullback Stuart Hogg kicked a monstrous goal for a 6-3 home lead.
Ulster looked to be heading for a try when Paddy Jackson brought Craig Gilroy into a backline move before the ball was shipped on the overlap to Tommy Bowe only for an ankle-low tackle by Tommy Seymour to prevent a score.
But the visitors did not have long to wait for their first try, the ball moved wide to Chris Henry after a clever one-pass play for the openside flanker to cross unopposed, Pienaar’s conversion attempt drifting wide
Glasgow then had a good attacking position from a penalty kick to the corner but an overthrow by replacement hooker Pat MacArthur wasted a precious opportunity.
At the other end Ulster profited from a tighthead strike but were held up over the line. From the ensuing scrum Irish referee George Clancy penalised the visitors’ pack leaving them frustrated but still with a slender two-point interval lead.
Ulster looked threatening early in the second half when they moved turnover ball but a wide pass almost gave Niko Matawalu an interception. However Neil Doak’s side were rewarded for their pressure play with a second penalty by Pienaar after Warriors infringed at a scrum
From the restart Glasgow attacked immediately with a clever kick for Matawalu to chase. The Fijian appeared to be shoulder charged by Gilroy but after a look at the TV replay Clancy ordered a scrum five metres out.
The outcome was a penalty to Glasgow and a chip to touch. but for the second time in the match MacArthur missed his jumper, allowing Ulster to claim possession and clear the ball to touch. From the ensuing lineout replacement lock Leone Nakarawa made a tilt at the line only to be stopped by Rory Best.
The Ireland hooker, however, was penalised for preventing release of the ball leaving Russell with a simple three point kick. But minutes later Pienaar answered with a massive goal kick to restore his side’s five-point advantage.
Then in a tension filled finale Glasgow kept possession through the phases before Russell threw out a huge pass to replacement wing Van Der Merve who crashed over in the corner to level the scores.
As the stadium fell silent Russell held his nerve to convert from the touchline to give Warriors the lead for the second time in the match, the extras proving to be the winning points for Glasgow.
SCORING SEQUENCE - 1 min: Pienaar pen, 0-3; 5 mins: Russell pen, 3-3; 13 mins: Russell pen, 6-3; 18 mins: Henry try, 6-8 (half-time 6-8) 55 mins: Pienaar pen, 6-11; 60 mins: Russell pen, 9-11; 67 mins: Pienaar pen, 9-14; 75 mins: Van der Merwe try, Russell con, 16-14.
GLASGOW WARRIORS: Stuart Hogg; Tommy Seymour, Richie Vernon, Peter Horne, Niko Matawalu; Finn Russell, Henry Pyrgos; Ryan Grant, Fraser Brown, Rossouw de Klerk, Jonny Gray, Al Kellock, Josh Strauss; Chris Fusaro, Adam Ashe.
Replacements: Leone Nakarawa for Kellock, Pat MacArthur for Brown (both 20 mins); Ryan Wilson for Fusaro (41 mins); Gordon Reid for Grant (45 mins); Mike Cusack for De Klerk (53 mins); DTH van der Merwe for Seymour (67 mins); Sean Lamont for Horne (70 mins); Duncan Weir for Matawalu (79 mins).
ULSTER: Louis Ludik; Tommy Bowe, Jared Payne, Darren Cave, Craig Gilroy; Paddy Jackson, Ruan Pienaar; Callum Black, Rory Best, Ricky Lutton; Lewis Stevenson, Dan Tuohy; Iain Henderson, Chris Henry, Roger Wilson.
Replacements: Andrew Warwickfor Black (71 mins); Stuart McCloskey for Cave, Robbie Diack for Stevenson (both 76 mins). Not used: Rob Herring, , Bronson Ross, , Sean Reidy, Paul Marshall, Mike Allen.
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)