Ulster continue perfect start as early blitz sees off Glasgow

Former All Black Charles Piutau constantly threatened in a crucial away victory

Glasgow Warriors 17 Ulster 22

Ulster made it four from four in what has been a first class start for the Belfast side in this season’s Guinness Pro12 after coming out on top in a brutally physical game against Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun on Friday night.

Yet for all their domination of possession - and superior strength in the forward battle - Ulster were unable to shake off a dogged Glasgow side that resisted the punishment meted out to them. In the end, Ulster must surely have been disappointed by the five point margin of victory, that gave Warriors a bonus point.

Behind a dominant pack that was backed up by a strong bench, Ulster's backs produced effective play, guided by the impressive Paddy Jackson who showed skills in distribution and individual running. Outside Jackson, Ulster's backs threatened in the wider channels where Darren Cave and the former All Black Charles Piutau constantly threatened the Glasgow defence.


There was too an encouraging return to the side for Jarred Payne who revelled in the huge supply of possession, his running from the full back position frequently creating overlap situations that tested Glasgow to the limit.

An early infringement by Glasgow should have produced points for Ulster only for Jackson to pull his kick across the posts. But five minutes later the Ulster outhalf was on target from 40 metres out.

Glasgow then had a fortunate escape when a try by Jared Payne was chalked off after an off-the-ball tip tackle by Iain Henderson on his former clubmate Tommy Seymour - spotted by the TMO.

Henderson was duly dispatched to the sin-bin but even with a man advantage Glasgow were still forced into defensive mode as Piutau constantly threatened on the left flank.

Ulster’s massive pressure and domination of possession, eventually produced the game’s first try. And again it was Piutau who did the damage. The big winger skipping through a tackle before linking with Ruan Pienaar. Then when the ball was moved right Darren Cave had the comparatively easy task of touching down in the corner.

Glasgow, still enjoying the man advantage then struck from a penalty kick to the corner, prop Gordon Reid forcing his way over after a sequence of short range drives. With Finn Russell adding the extras to bring his side within a point of Ulster.

Ulster again felt short-changed when a second 'try' was scored off after Rodney Ah You, was judged to have impeded the tackle on Rob Herring as the hooker crossed the Glasgow line.

Finally fortune changed for Ulster however, after the visitors were awarded a penalty try after Leonardo Sarto was judged to have made a no-arm tackle on the rampaging Piutau, as the New Zealand cap raced for the line. Jackson’s easy conversion goal giving his side a 15-7 half time lead.

Ulster looked certain to increase their lead when Jackson raced through the Glasgow defence only for the outhalf to lose the ball over the line after Seymour put in a tackle. But in any case the referee had spotted an offside offence that resulted in a penalty goal from Russell.

Incredibly Glasgow struck back with a break by Alex Dunbar, a half break by Stuart Hogg and then clinical finishing from Seymour, Russell's touchline conversion giving the home side a 17-15 lead.

But a wide move by the Ulster backs gave Jackson a riposte try after Pienaar, Cave and Payne had made priceless contributions in the build-up to the score. Jackson converted to put his side five points clear.

Glasgow tried desperately to close the gap but the home men were unable to breach Ulster’s iron defence, leaving the men in white to savour a titanic win. And well deserved.

Glasgow Warriors: S Hogg; L Sarto, M Bennett, A Dunbar, T Seymour; F Russell, H Pyrgos; G Reid, F Brown, Z Fagerson, G Peterson, J Gray, T Uanivi, L Wynne, R Wilson Replacements C Flynn for Peterson (22), A Allan for Reid (29), S Puafisi for Z Fagerson (50), S Thomson for Uanivi (32), M Fagerson for Wilson (70), A Price for Pyrgos (71), N Grigg for Hughes (75), R Hughes for Sarto (49)

Ulster: J Payne, L Ludik, D Cave, S McCloskey, C Piutau; P Jackson, R Pienaar; A Warwick, R Herring (captain), R Ah You, A O'Connor, F van der Merwe, I Henderson, S Reidy, R Wilson Replacements R Best for Herring (47), C Black for Warwick (61), R Kane for Ah You (54), P Browne for O'Connor (54), C Ross for Wilson (59), S Olding for McCloskey (13), R Lyttle for Olding (50)

Scorers Glasgow Warriors Tries Reid, Seymur Cons Russell (2) Pen Russsell Ulster Tries Cave, Pen try, Jackson Cons Jackson (2) Pen Jackson

Referee: I Davies (WRU)