Wednesday 20 September 2017

Bennett's cutting edge puts Ulster's top-two hopes under threat

Glasgow 27 Ulster 9

Iain Henderson, Ulster, is tackled by Josh Strauss, Glasgow Warriors
Iain Henderson, Ulster, is tackled by Josh Strauss, Glasgow Warriors
Darren Cave, Ulster, is tackled by Mark Bennett, Glasgow Warriors
Ulster's Paddy Jackson, right, and Ryan Wilson, Glasgow Warriors, shake hands at full-time

Glasgow narrowed the gap between themselves and Ulster to just one point after the Warriors achieved a decisive win over the Ravenhill men.

With a game in hand it is the Scots who are now in the stronger position as the Pro12 moves towards its conclusion.

Ulster were never able to produce the free-flowing style that brought them a handsome victory over Connacht last weekend, and against a Glasgow defence that was well organised and aggressive, the visitors could make little headway.

An exchange of penalties by Paddy Jackson and Finn Russell produced an early stalemate but when Glasgow were penalised just outside their own 22-metre line Jackson was again on target to give Ulster the lead for the first time in the match.

From the restart Ulster worked the ball up the field to earn a second penalty converted into points by Jackson while obtaining a further advantage with the despatch to the sin-bin of Glasgow's No 8 Ryan Wilson.

Glasgow's propensity to give away penalties was costing them, but when Jackson was given a further kick at goal the out-half saw his shot rebound off the post.

Ulster were forced into defensive mode when Glasgow attacked from a line-out on the visitors' 22-metre line but a mistake by the hosts allowed Ulster to break out and put pressure on the Warriors.

When Mark Bennett broke through midfield and found Peter Horne in support the Ulster defence were fully stretched but still able to stop Glasgow scoring.

Glasgow, however, were growing in confidence and when the Warriors worked the ball through several phases Russell cleverly put Sean Maitland into the clear for the wing to score a simple try, converted by Russell for a 10-9 half-time lead.

Two minutes into the second half Glasgow extended their lead after flanker Sean Doyle was yellow-carded.

Glasgow immediately made their one-man advantage count by driving a line-out for winger Tommy Seymour to score in the corner. Russell converted from the touchline to bring the scoreline to 20-9.

Ulster had a chance to hit back with a kick to the corner for a five-metre line-out but a knock-on by the visitors at the throw-in provided relief for Glasgow in the form of a scrum.

But against the odds Ulster won scrum ball giving Andrew Trimble a tilt at the line. In the ensuing phase play Ulster moved the ball threateningly but a superb tackle from former Ulster player Seymour stopped the visitors in their tracks.

But Ulster's pressure was beginning to tell and from a driven line-out Nick Williams appeared to have scored, but after consultation with the TMO the try was not awarded.

With Tom Court nursing a shoulder injury Glasgow turned the screw, their pressure producing a try for Mark Bennett who took an inside pass from Russell before roaring through the broken Ulster defence, Russell adding the conversion to push Glasgow's lead to 27-9.

Court was finally forced to retire resulting in uncontested scrums but it did not stop the onslaught from Glasgow, who came close to scoring the bonus-point try, foiled only by the tackle of the match from Trimble.

Glasgow Warriors – P Murchie; S Maitland, M Bennett, P Horne (R Vernon 75), T Seymour (N Matawalu 67); F Russell, C Cusiter; G Reid (R Grant 72), D Hall (P MacArthur 56), J Welsh (G Cross 57), J Gray (L Nakarawa 56), T Swinson, J Strauss, C Fusaro (R Harley 63), R Wilson

Ulster – R Andrew; T Bowe, D Cave, L Marshall (C Gilroy 72), A Trimble; P Jackson, P Marshall (M Heaney 71); T Court (N Annett 67) ), R Herring, R Lutton (D Fitzpatrick 37), J Muller (L Stevenson 67), I Henderson, C Henry, S Doyle (M McComish 67), N Williams

Referee – J Lacey (IRFU)

Irish Independent

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