Ulster second best as Glasgow bounce back from Euro exit
Glasgow had answers to Ulster’s forward play and were quicker at the breakdown
Ulster’s Angus Kernohan tackles Kyle Steyn of Glasgow. Photograph: Craig Watson/Inpho
In a match between two sides feeling the stinging hurt of Euro exits last weekend, it was Glasgow, who had the satisfaction of expunging the memory of their quarter-final failure, with a bonus-point win over Ulster at Scotstoun on Friday night that halted the Belfast side’s recent momentum in the Guinness Pro14.
Throughout a match played at an electric pace Glasgow had the answers to Ulster’s powerful forward play and were yards quicker at the breakdown.
Behind the scrum Glasgow’s movement of the ball was much slicker than their opponents, who looked ponderous in midfield and who lacked invention at half back and moreover who struggled at the lineout in what were windy conditions.
In a frenetic opening five minutes of the game both sides had some early chances, Marcell Coetzee pilfering ball at the break-down and Johnny Gray making a steal at an Ulster throw-in.
Then when Ulster won a penalty in the Glasgow red zone the Billy Burns kicked to the corner and from the line-out drive hooker Rob Herring exploded from the forward pack to crash over leaving John Cooney with an easy conversion.
The knife-edge nature of the game was shown to its full when Glasgow replied in identical fashion from a line-out drive that ended with hooker Fraser Brown diving over for his side’s opening try, converted by Adam Hastings.
The Glasgow outhalf quickly added to his points tally, this time with a try created by a powerful run in midfield by Warrriors’ centre Kyle Steyn and quick recycling of the ball that gave Hastings just enough room to squeeze over. The score remained a five pointer, Hastings’ conversion attempt hitting the near upright.
Minutes later Hastings made amends with a 35 metre penalty goal to put his side 15-7 ahead and almost immediately was lucky to escape a yellow card after a clumsy and failed interception.
Ulster were given a guilt-edge opportunity to capitalise on a penalty-created 5 metre line-out but a handling error and then a penalty against the visitors meant that their chance of points just before the break was wasted.
Not so for Glasgow. With the clock showing red, Warriors mounted a massive attack on the Ulster line with crucial contributions from Steyn and Sam Johnson before the the ball was whipped out to the right for Stuart Hogg to send former Ulsterman Tommy Seymour in at the corner for an unconverted try leaving Glasgow 20-7 ahead at the interval.
If Glasgow had lifted their fans just before half time then the Scotstoun crowd were ecstatic when Warriors claimed their bonus point try just after the break when Zander Fagerson powered over from close range at the end of patient build-up by the home side.
Hastings added the conversion for a 27-7 lead that should have been reduced when Jacob Stockdale put Luke Marshall on course for a try, only for the come-back centre to be tackled by Seymour causing a knock-on and giving Glasgow instant relief.
Glasgow’s positive play produced further points with a second penalty goal by Hastings to put Warriors ahead by 30-7. Ulster seemed to have gained some solace when Rob Lyttle latched on to loose ball before sprinting up field for what seemed a certain try.
But a huge defensive effort by Seymour denied the Ulster full back his moment of glory, albeit that he was less than a millimetre short of the line, to leave Glasgow with a simple job of running down the clock against a demoralised Ulster.
Scoring sequence: 8 mins: R Herring try and J Cooney con, 0-7; 15 mins: F Brown try and A Hasting con, 7-7; 18 mins: A Hastings try, 12-7; 26 mins: A Hastings pen, 15-7; 40 mins: Seymour try, 20-7; (ht) 43 mins: Z Fagerson try and A Hastings con, 27-7; 57 mins: A Hastings pen, 30-7
GLASGOW WARRIORS: S Hogg, T Seymour, K Steyn, S Johnson, N Matawalu; A Hastings, A Price; O Kebble, F Brown, Z Fagerson, R Harley, J Gray, A Ashe, C Fusaro, M Fagerson.
Replacements: G Stewart for Brown 65, J Bhatti for Kebble 33, S Halanukonuka for Fagerson 65, S Cummings for Ashe 60, T Tameilau for Fusaro 66, G Horne for Price 62, P Horne for Hastings 60, R Nairn for for Seymour 70.
ULSTER: M Lowry, R Lyttle, L Marshall, S McCloskey, J Stockdale; B Burns, J Cooney; E O’Sullivan, R Herring, M Moore, A O’Connor, K Treadwell, S Reidy, J Murphy, M Coetzee.
Replacements: J Andrew for Herring 45, A Warwick for O’Sulliven 45, T O’Toole for O’Connor 62, I Nagle for Treadwell 52, M Rea for Coetzee 66, D Shanahan for Burns 61, D Cave for McCloskey 56, A Kernohan for Lowry 20.
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)