Saturday 29 April 2017

Ulster bolster PRO12 play-off hopes with win over Glasgow Warriors

Jacob Stockdale, an Ireland Under-20 international, scored two tries for Ulster
Jacob Stockdale, an Ireland Under-20 international, scored two tries for Ulster

Ulster racked up a second bonus-point win in succession over Scottish sides when they defeated a weakened Glasgow Warriors 37-17 at the Kingspan Stadium.

The five-try victory took Ulster up a place to fifth in the Guinness PRO12 table as Les Kiss' side, who still have a game in hand, continue their push to break into the top four.

It followed their win over Edinburgh eight days previously.

Jacob Stockdale scored twice for Ulster while Tommy Bowe, Sean Reidy and Ruan Pienaar also crossed the Glasgow line as the Irish province did the double on Gregor Townsend's men after winning at Scotstoun in September.

Pienaar also kicked three conversions and two penalties to finish with 17 points as Ulster pushed on to win after leading 15-5 at half-time.

The Warriors got three tries, with Scott Cummings crossing twice and debutant full-back Brandon Thomson going over once.

Pienaar, playing his first game of 2017 after injury, opened Ulster's account with a 10th-minute penalty which had been won by fellow South African Marcell Coetzee.

The home side then absorbed Glasgow pressure before producing some of their own prior to striking after 21 minutes when replacement Stockdale put Bowe over in the right corner.

Pienaar could not add to the well-worked try but did convert just after the half hour after he had been instrumental in creating Ulster's second for Reidy with a beautifully popped pass inside to the charging flanker. Welsh referee Dan Jones awarded the score and then decided to view it again on the big screen.

The half ended, though, with the Warriors getting on the scoreboard as full-back Thomson crossed out on the left, with Ulster down to 14 men as Darren Cave was off the field after shipping a blow to the head during the attack.

Thomson missed the conversion but the score gave the Scots some hope.

Ulster scored first on the resumption after Craig Gilroy was flattened off the ball and Pienaar landed the shot at goal.

They got their third try after 48 minutes when Stockdale - now in the centre in place of Cave - was put through the middle from a Luke Marshall pass to score under the posts, with Pienaar's conversion taking the home side's lead to 25-5.

The bonus point duly came four minutes later as Ulster swept downfield from deep in their own 22 with Pienaar - now at out-half - starting the move and finishing it after Peter Nelson, Bowe and Paul Marshall had all handled.

Pienaar missed the tricky conversion. Then, in the 67th minute, Glasgow flanker Rob Harley was yellow-carded for upending Rob Herring but the Warriors hit back immediately when lock Scott Cummings charged Paul Marshall's clearance down and got on the end of his own hack ahead.

Referee Evans opted not to look at the big screen, which clearly showed that Cummings had knocked on in the act of scoring. Thomson was wide with the conversion.

He did, though, kick the next one which came five minutes later with Cummings again powering over, this time at the posts.

But Ulster hit back and Stockdale registered his second try with three minutes left as he collected his own kick-through to dot down under the posts, allowing Pienaar to add another two points.

Press Association

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