Thursday 22 February 2018

Doak delight at 'tremendous platform' for Leicester trip

Ulster 29 Glasgow 9

Ulster's Craig Gilroy is stopped in his tracks by Josh Strauss of Glasgow Warriors during in their Guinness Pro12 clash at the Kingspan Stadium. Photo: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE
Ulster's Craig Gilroy is stopped in his tracks by Josh Strauss of Glasgow Warriors during in their Guinness Pro12 clash at the Kingspan Stadium. Photo: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE
Tommy Bowe strides forward on his way to score Ulster's second try in their Guinness Pro12 clash win over Glasgow Warriors at the Kingspan Stadium. Photo: John Dickson / SPORTSFILE
Ulster's Rory Best braces himself for a tackle during the Guinness Pro12 clash with Glasgow Warriors at the Kingspan Stadium. Photo: OJohn Dickson / SPORTSFILE

Ulster could not have fashioned better preparation for next week's European opener against Leicester Tigers at Welford Road than their humbling of runaway Guinness Pro12 table-toppers Glasgow in Belfast.

In front of more than 16,000 fans, Ulster welcomed in new head coach Neil Doak with a scintillating performance that rocked the Warriors back.

Ulster scored two late tries to cement victory after Ian Humphreys had put them in the driving seat with five penalties to three from Finn Russell.

Doak praised his players for sticking to the pre-match plans to stifle Glasgow's free-flowing game.

"They scored only nine points and when you consider what they have done from the start of the season it was pretty good. They've been scoring a lot of tries and just be at home in front of that crowd was perfect for us going to Welford Road. It is a tremendous platform," he said.

Doak also praised the work of fly-half Humphreys, who stepped in for Paddy Jackson, with the Ireland man due to be assessed this week on his availability for Leicester.

It was a thunderous game. The match fairly crackled sides before Russell and Humphreys swapped penalties.

Pierced

It was Andrew Trimble who finally brought the crowd to its feet in the 24th minute when he pierced the Warriors defence deep inside his own half, even if it eventually came to nothing.

Ulster did take a nine-point advantage into the interval, with Humphreys rifling over five penalties to Russell's brace.

The second half mimicked the first, with Russell converting a penalty in the opening stanza.

The big hits continued, but you always suspected that Ulster would finally crack it.

And they did in the final 15 minutes with a wonderful Craig Gilroy try from 30 metres out as he skipped away from Nikota Matawalu to score.

Tommy Bowe's try was due to typical Ulster's no-nonsense defence when the winger picked up a loose pass to run 40 metres unimpeded under the posts.

Humphreys rattled over both conversions for a personal tally of 19 points and that was that.

After victory there last year, Welford Road should again hold no fears for Ulster.

Scorers: Ulster: T Bowe, C Gilroy try each; I Humphreys 5 pens, 2 cons. Glasgow: F Russell 3 pens

Ulster: L Ludik (S Olding 72); A Trimble (C Gilroy 35), J Payne, S McCloskey, T Bowe; I Humphreys, P Marshall (M Heaney 78); A Warwick (C Black 59), R Best (capt)(R Herring 73), W Herbst (B Ross 73), A O'Connor, F van der Merwe L Stevenson 72), R Diack, N Williams (R Wilson 53), C Henry.

Glasgow: S Maitland; T Seymour), M Bennett (N Matawalu 61), P Horne (J Downey 56), S Lamont (DTH van der Merwe 48); F Russell, H Pyrgos; G Reid (J Yanuyanutawa 67), F Brown (D Hall 53), E Murray (A Fagerson 76), T Swinson (J Gray 50), L Nakarawa (yc 35-45), R Harley, J Strauss (capt), C Fusaro.

Referee: N Owens (Wales).

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