Match Report: Glasgow Warriors 27-17 Ulster Rugby

Iain Henderson

Iain Henderson scored a try on his return to action

A last minute penalty from Stuart Hogg denied Ulster even a losing bonus point from Scotstoun Stadium as they were beaten 27-17 by defending champions the Glasgow Warriors.

The visitors had led at the break courtesy of a try from the returning Iain Henderson and a penalty from centurion Paddy Jackson while Finn Russell sent over three penalties for Glasgow.

Stuart McCloskey opened the second half scoring with an opportunistic score four minutes in but from there it was one way traffic with Hogg and former Ulsterman Tommy Seymour scoring tries while man of the match Russell added another eight points from the boot.

The game got off to the perfect start for the visitors as a strong break into the 22 yielded a yellow card for full-back Hogg, and then the first try of the game just a minute later.

After Nick Williams was held up over the line, the resulting scrum set up the ball perfectly and an excellently timed inside pass from Stuart Olding set over the returning Iain Henderson who dotted down under the posts for the five pointer.

In fact all of the early pressure was coming from the visitors and centurion Jackson was mere inches away from reaching his own kick through after a break through from Craig Gilroy, however the ball was scrambled back by the Warriors defence.

But with Hogg back from the bin, Glasgow began to show why they are defending champions as they began to attack with increased intensity, however the Ulster defence was holding firm and keeping out the repeated waves of attacks.

They did manage to get on the scoreboard though just after the midway point in the half – despite the visitors’ defence being resolute they got on the wrong side of referee John Lacey twice, two penalties which Finn Russell was happy to slot over.

Les Kiss’ men were having to do a lot of defending however a turnover from Nick Williams in the 34th minute granted them three points from the boot of Jackson, however Russell put over a third penalty of his own to take the sides in at half-time only a point apart.

After the break Glasgow were again looking stronger but it would be Ulster who would extend their lead after an excellent piece of improvisation from Craig Gilroy.

Having won a penalty, Ruan Pienaar quickly kicked it deep, Gilroy gathered it in touch and passed it to the rampaging Stuart McCloskey who went over easily in the corner.

That was as good as it was to get for the visitors though as Glasgow quickly rallied and, although Russell missed his first penalty of the night, they were to find themselves in the lead for the first time in the game just after the 60th minute.

First came an excellent individual score from Six Nations Player of the Tournament Stuart Hogg who received the ball on the wing and gathered his own chip kick through to score in the corner.

Then it was the turn of ex-Ulsterman Tommy Seymour who came onto man of the match Russell’s crossfield kick at pace and sprinted over from the halfway line for the try that put the hosts into a four point lead.

Despite falling behind Ulster fought back bravely and twice they threatened the Glasgow line only for the Scots’ defence to rally well and win penalties both times, maintaining their lead.

And then in the final ten minutes they were able to turn the screw and after Russell pushed the lead out to seven with his fourth penalty of the night it was down to Hogg to break the travelling Ulster fans’ hearts.

Russell missed an easier penalty with three minutes to go and it looked like the Northern Irishmen might escape with the point but with the last kick of the game Hogg hammered over the penalty that gave the visitors nothing.

 

The scorers

For Glasgow

Tries: Hogg, Seymour

Con: Russell

Pens: Russell (4), Hogg

For Ulster

Tries: Henderson, McCloskey

Cons: Jackson (2)

Pen: Jackson

 

GLASGOW WARRIORS

(15-9) Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Mark Bennett, Alex Dunbar, Sean Lamont, Finn Russell, Henry Pyrgos (Grayson Hart 66); (1-8) Gordon Reid (Jerry Yanuyanutawa 69), Fraser Brown (James Malcolm 69), Sila Puafisi (Zander Fagerson 69), Leone Nakarawa, Jonny Gray, Robert Harley, Chris Fusaro (Ryan Wilson 23), Josh Strauss (Tim Swinson 63).

Subs not used: Duncan Weir, Taqele Naiyaravoro.

Yellow card: Stuart Hogg (1’)

ULSTER RUGBY

(15-9) Stuart Olding, Craig Gilroy, Luke Marshall, Stuart McCloskey, Rory Scholes (Darren Cave 75), Paddy Jackson, Ruan Pienaar (Paul Marshall 75); (1-8) Callum Black (Kyle McCall 62), Rob Herring, Ricky Lutton (Andy Warwick 75), Alan O’Connor (Robbie Diack 27), Franco van der Merwe, Iain Henderson, Chris Henry, Nick Williams (Sean Reidy 40).

Subs not used: John Andrew, Sam Windsor.

 

Man of the Match: Finn Russell (Glasgow)

Attendance: 6,800

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)