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Ulster storm past Glasgow with a bonus point to post fifth straight win

Sean Reidy and John Cooney starred as Ulster showed a ruthless streak against the Scots.

Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Ulster 40

Glasgow Warriors 15

THAT’S FIVE STRAIGHT wins to start the season for Ulster and their best start to a domestic campaign since 2016 after they hit the Glasgow Warriors for six at Kingspan Stadium in a 40-15 drubbing.

It was a night of ruthless efficiency from Dan McFarland’s side who, in five trips to the 22 in the first half, crossed the whitewash four times to wrap up the bonus point, and had two more after the restart to consolidate their position as comfortably the better side in this clash.

For the second home game in a row Sean Reidy was man of the match on a night where forwards accounted for four of Ulster’s six scores, while Andy Farrell will no doubt have had his head turned once more by the controlled and consummate display of John Cooney from scrum-half.

Whether PRO14 chiefs will look on the result with such fondness is questionable, however. In what is marketed as a competitive Conference A of the PRO14, second-placed Ulster now hold a 14 point advantage over the third-placed Ospreys, and both Leinster and Ulster have the same number of wins each as the rest of the sides in the Conference combined.

Not that McFarland will care. His side responded well to losing loosehead prop Jack McGrath in the warm-up and, after the early setback of falling behind after just five minutes, turned the screw at all the right moments to turn what could have been a contest into something akin to a stroll in the park.

Indeed, when TJ Ioane surged over after five minutes after a particularly blistering Warriors attack in the 22, it looked like there would be a game in it for the hosts, and the No.8 nearly crossed again after taking a flat pass from Pete Horne at the line and searing through, but the visitors were soon subject to the clinical nature of Ulster’s finishing.

The maul did the damage for the first two, hooker John Andrew the man to profit from the set-piece working its way over the line six minutes after Ioane’s seven-pointer, and then Marcell Coetzee was on hand to spin under the posts off the back of another following some more strong work from Andrew.

Glasgow were still firing shots, and Sean Kennedy – a late replacement for Jamie Dobie – nearly sniped over from a quick tap penalty only for the intervention of Andrew and then Mike Lowry, and that proved the prelude to the Warriors’ decline.

They only just about managed to stop Sam Carter inches short of the line as Ulster worked their way back into the 22 but, faced with the rampaging lock for a second time off the back of the resulting scrum, they were powerless to stop the stand-in skipper from diving under the posts.

And, even when it looked like they’d made it to the interval without further punishment, Ulster were in no mood to let them off easily.

Cooney broke off the back of a maul and down the blindside, Niko Matawalu received his marching orders for knocking down Matt Faddes’ pass for Craig Gilroy with one hand, and Cooney was on hand to finish the chaos he created when he sniped over from close range on the stroke of half-time for the bonus point score.

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john-cooney-scores-a-try Cooney crosses for his try. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

It was brutal efficiency from Dan McFarland’s side, who weren’t even firing on all cylinders with ball in hand, but were still ruthless in the red zone to make their visitors pay on four of the five occasions they made it into the 22.

The onslaught continued after the restart, and the quality of the scores only seemed to improve.

Although they couldn’t capitalise further while Matawalu was off, ironically it was the Fijian who was sold the dummy by Michael Lowry for the province’s fifth try ten minutes after the restart, the full-back feeding Andrew on his outside and the hooker, in turn, sending Sean Reidy scampering over the line.

For all the quality of the fifth, the sixth was good fortune. Horne’s pass didn’t find the hands of D’arcy Rae and Matt Faddes was the first to the loose ball, hacking it under the posts and sliding on it for the easy score.

Lowry saw yellow on the hour mark for a deliberate knock on of his own and Glasgow crossed from the resulting line-out, hooker Grant Stewart powering over from five metres out with the Ulster defence splintering, but that was as close as they would ever make it, the hosts able to close out affairs in relative ease.

Scorers

For Ulster
Tries: Andrew, Coetzee, Carter, Cooney, Reidy, Faddes
Cons: Cooney (5)

For Glasgow
Tries: Ioane, Stewart
Cons: Horne
Pen: Horne

ULSTER RUGBY: (15-9) Michael Lowry; Craig Gilroy, Luke Marshall (Ethan McIlroy 52), Stewart Moore, Matt Faddes; Ian Madigan (Bill Johnston 48), John Cooney (David Shanahan 68); (1-8) Eric O’Sullivan (Kyle McCall 54), John Andrew (Adam McBurney 61), Marty Moore (Gareth Milasinovich 61); Kieran Treadwell, Sam Carter (Alan O’Connor 48); Matty Rea, Sean Reidy, Marcell Coetzee (Marcus Rea 61).

Yellow card: Michael Lowry (60′)

GLASGOW WARRIORS: (15-9) Glenn Bryce; Ratu Tagive, Robbie Fergusson, Stafford McDowall (Brandon Thomson 48), Niko Matawalu; Peter Horne, Sean Kennedy (Caleb Korteweg 75); (1-8) Aki Seiuli (Alex Allan 54), Grant Stewart (Johnny Matthews 67), Enrique Pieretto (D’arcy Rae 52); Rob Harley (Hamish Bain 74), Kiran McDonald (Lewis Bean 52); Ryan Wilson, Tom Gordon, TJ Ioane (Fotu Lokotui 54).
Yellow card: Niko Matawalu (40′)

Man of the Match: Sean Reidy (Ulster)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

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