Darren Cave attempts to create an opening for Ulster. Russell Cheyne/INPHO
well beaten

Impressive Glasgow mark Pro12 title credentials by out muscling Ulster

Mark Ansombe’s men will rue their lapses just before half time after defeat to the Warriors.

Glasgow 27

Ulster 9

AN ASSURED PERFORMANCE from title contenders Glasgow Warriors condemned Ulster to a 27-9 Pro12 defeat at Scotstoun Stadium this evening.

Mark Anscombe’s men remain second on the league table overnight, but a win for Munster in their inter-provincial clash against Connacht tomorrow would see them leapfrog the northern province.

Glasgow are now within a point of Ulster, who face demanding clashes against Leinster and Munster in the closing two rounds of the regular season schedule. At Scotstoun, the Warriors marked out their own credentials as possible Pro12 winners.

With fixtures against Edinburgh, Treviso and Zebre to come [ie. a game in hand over Ulster and Munster], Gregor Townsend’s men will have every belief in their abilities to secure a crucial home semi-final.

Ulster came within seconds of enjoying a 9-3 half time lead, but Sean Maitland burst through the visitors’ defence to score a try in the 40th minute. Impressive 21-year-old out-half Finn Russell provided the assist, and converted to put his side 10-9 up.

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Three Paddy Jackson penalties had left Ulster in control of the scoreboard before Maitland’s try, with the Warriors No. 8 Ryan Wilson sin-binned in the build-up the third of those kicks, after he failed to wrap his arms in a tackle.

Russell, making only his second start at out-half for Glasgow, slotted his second penalty of the game three minutes into the second-half after Sean Doyle was yellow-carded, and the home side began to grasp true control of the game.

A powerful maul led to the Warriors’ second try, with Scotland international wing Tommy Seymour – a product of the Ulster academy – dotting down at the back of a mass of bodies. Russell was on target with his conversion to extend the lead to 20-9.

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Ulster came back at Gregor Townsend’s team, but a thunderous Seymour hit on Tommy Bowe halted one attack, before the TMO ruled out another close call after the Ulster maul had sent Nick Williams over the tryline.

Slow motion replays then surprisingly came to Glasgow’s aid in the 67th minute as Mark Bennett was adjudged to have got downward pressure when stretching for the line. The dangerous centre had burst through on a typically intelligent line, although it was something of a surprise to see the score awarded.

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Not that Russell was bothered as he added this third conversion from just to the left of the uprights to send Glasgow 27-9 in front. Ulster did battle to find further scores, but the hard-working, energetic home team snuffed out the most threatening possibilities.

The magnificent Josh Strauss led the Glasgow resistance as Townsend’s men gave another reminder that the Irish sides will have to produce something special to claim another Pro12 trophy this season.

Glasgow scorers:Tries: S Maitland, T Seymour, M Bennett

Conversions: F Russell (3)

Penalties: F Russell (2)

Ulster scorers:

Penalties: P Jackson (3)

GLASGOW: Peter Murchie, Sean Maitland (Richie Vernon), Mark Bennett,  Peter Horne, Tommy Seymour (Niko Matawalu); Finn Russell, Chris Cusiter (capt.); Gordon Reid (Ryan Grant), Dougie Hall (Pat MacArthur), Jon Welsh (Geoff Cross); Tim Swinson, Jonny Gray (Leone Nakarawa); Josh Strauss, Chris Fusaro (Rob Harley), Ryan Wilson.

Replacements not used: Ruaridh Jackson.

ULSTER: Ricky Andrew; Tommy Bowe, Darren Cave, Luke Marshall (Craig Gilroy), Andrew Trimble; Paddy Jackson, Paul Marshall (Michael Heaney); Tom Court (Andrew Warwick), Rob Herring (Niall Annett), Ricky Lutton (Declan Fitzpatrick); Johann Muller (capt.) (Lewis Stevenson), Iain Henderson; Chris Henry, Sean Doyle (Mike McComish), Nick Williams.

Replacement not used: James McKinney.

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