Thursday 23 November 2017

Eddie makes wasteful Ulster pay heavy price

Ulster 12 Glasgow Warriors 13

A dejected Johann Muller, Ulster, after the final whistle
A dejected Johann Muller, Ulster, after the final whistle

White-line fever cost Ulster a precious victory against Glasgow at Ravenhill despite completely dominating the second half.

At least three try opportunities were butchered as Ulster, to their credit, turned in a much better performance from their opening-day defeat to the Dragons last week.

Ulster led 12-6 going into injury-time but they suffered at the hands of Scotland scrum-half and second-half replacement James Eddie, who dived in close to the posts as Glasgow, who were down to 14 men, mounted one last desperate attack. Stuart Hogg converted and that was that.

The last Scottish side to win in Belfast back in 2009, the Warriors edged ahead in the sixth minute when Ulster skipper Johann Muller high-tackled Ruaridh Jackson and full-back Hogg banged over the penalty. Two minutes later, however, fly-half Paddy Jackson found his range with an equalising 30-metre penalty.

A neat cross-kick by Ulster full-back Jared Payne found Michael Allen in space, but the left wing was hauled down 15 metres short of the line by the speedy Hogg.

Ulster forged ahead in the 16th minute when, after two great charges by flanker Roger Wilson in midfield, Glasgow strayed offside and Jackson landed his second penalty. Jackson was now kicking with confidence and he pushed Ulster further ahead in the 22nd minute with a 45-metre effort.

Ian Porter, making a very impressive showing at the base of the scrum on his first start in the No 9 jersey, also showed his defensive qualities when he raced back to prevent his opposite number Henry Pyrgos a certain score under the posts.

However, a rare mistake by the 25-year-old, when he fluffed an up-and-under, allowed Glasgow to garner a penalty and Hogg banged over from 37 metres. Jackson then restored Ulster's six-point advantage with his fourth penalty seven minutes from the interval after more impressive play by No 8 Nick Williams.

Ulster's handling was impressive as they began the second half putting the visitors under real pressure. However, they failed to take advantage. After some Glasgow pressure, an Ulster counter-attack should have produced the first try of the game when Allen dropped a pass from impressive hooker Rob Herring with the line at his mercy.

Another spilled pass, this time by the industrious Luke Marshall, prevented him going in under the posts in the 62nd minute. Despite camping on the Warriors line, Ulster just could not cross it. Winger David McIlwaine did in the 64th minute, but could not ground the ball.

Glasgow lost replacement prop Moray Low to blatant obstruction with seven minutes remaining, but again Ulster failed to strike and it was Eddie who broke the Ulster fans' hearts.

ULSTER – J Payne; D McIlwaine, D Cave, L Marshall, M Allen; P Jackson, I Porter (P Marshall 59); C Black (T Court 62), R Herring, D Fitzpatrick (R Lutton 62); J Muller (I Henderson 59), D Tuohy; R Wilson, S Doyle (C Henry 64), N Williams.

GLASGOW WARRIORS – S Hogg; T Seymour, S Lamont (G Ascarate 62), M Bennett, DTH van der Merwe; R Jackson, H Pyrgos (C Cusiter 66); R Grant (G Reid 70), P MacArthur (D Hall 57), E Kalman (M Low 59); T Swinson (J Eddie 77), J Gray; R Harley, T Holmes (C Fusaro 57), J Strauss (R Vernon 62).

REF – I Davies (WRU).

Irish Independent

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