Thursday 29 June 2017

Ragged Ulster hold on for victory to reclaim top spot

Ulster 13 Glasgow 10 Guinness Pro12

Ulster's Stuart McCloskey about to be tackled by Glenn Bryce
Ulster's Stuart McCloskey about to be tackled by Glenn Bryce
Paddy Jackson kicks a second half penalty (SPORTSFILE)
Ali Price takes the ball out of the ruck (SPORTSFILE)
Franco Van Der Merwe takes the ball in the lineout against Greg Peterson (SPORTSFILE)

Ulster not so much as stormed back to the top of the Pro12 League, but stumbled to the summit in defeating defending champions Glasgow at the Kingspan Stadium last night.

It was a slipshod performance by the leaders as they continually fluffed their lines by losing possession when threatening in the visitors' red zone.

But after turning around 5-3 down at the break, they stormed back into the contest with Callum Black rumbling over to celebrate his 100th appearance for the province and Paddy Jackson banging over the conversion and adding a penalty.

Earlier, Ulster were then caught cold from Glasgow's first visit to the Ulster red zone in the 10th minute when Sam Johnson took a crash ball, burst through the midfield defence and the ball was fed wide to winger Lee Jones who had the easiest task of touching down wide on the right.

Ulster finally came alive in the 23rd minute with some excellent interplay between backs and forwards and when Glasgow were pinged, Ruan Pienaar knocked over the penalty.


The Springbok was nearly on the end of a sweeping move after Craig Gilroy had burst clear, but he was beaten to the touchdown by the covering Jones.

Coming up to half-time Ulster again were denied a try this time by the TMO after the lively Paul Marshall, who had replaced the concussed Pienaar, had appeared to touch down on a loose ball after it had been stripped from Nick Williams.

Ulster were still huffing and puffing on the restart and, frustratingly for them, continued to hand back possession to Glasgow.

But everything appeared to change in the 52nd minute with the sprightly Gilroy carving through the Glasgow defence and setting up the platform for Black to crash over.

Jackson, who came on as a second-half replacement, converted and then added a penalty kick in the 66th minute.

Ulster then had a bag of opportunities to add to their total but once again they were their own worst enemies as the chances went abegging.

Glasgow had the last say when replacement Taqele Naiyaravoro went over the line in the corner to give his side a precious losing bonus point.

Ulster - S Olding; C Gilroy, D Cave, S McCloskey, J Stockdale (Arnold, 74); S Windsor (Jackson, 40), R Pienaar (Marshall, 30); C Black (McCall, 57), R Herring (capt) (Andrew, 43), R Lutton (Ross, 77); A O'Connor, F van der Merwe, R Diack, S Reidy (Henry, 52), N Williams (Wilson, 64).

Glasgow - P Murchie; L Jones (Naiyaravoro, 64), G Bryce, S Johnson, R Hughes; G Hunter (Horne, 54), A Price (Hart, 64); R Grant (Allen, 59), P MacArthur (Malcolm, 36), S Puafisi (Rae, 69); G Peterson, L Nakarawa (Strauss, 59); R Harley, S Favaro (Fusaro, 40), R Wilson (capt).

Ref - M Mitrea (Italy)

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