Jackson sends Ulster top in Glasgow smash-and-grab
Glasgow Warriors 19 Ulster 22
Ulster claimed a fourth successive win to remain unbeaten in the Guinness Pro12 after producing a physical performance to subdue Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun last night.
In a game that was brutally physical, resulting in a number of injuries, Ulster were able to impose themselves on the match, dominating possession and showing subtle play from their outside backs. Outstanding too for Ulster were half-backs Paddy Jackson and Ruan Pienaar.
Yet Glasgow, hit by injury, somehow were able to compete and must be relieved to collect a bonus point after being on the back foot for so much of the game. An early infringement by Glasgow should have produced points for Ulster only for Jackson pull his kick across the posts. But five minutes later the Ulster out-half was on target from 40 metres out.
Glasgow then had a fortunate escape when a try by Jared Payne was chalked off after an off-the-ball tip tackle by Iain Henderson on former clubmate Tommy Seymour was spotted by the TMO. Henderson was duly dispatched to the sin-bin but even with a man advantage Glasgow were still forced into defensive mode as Charles Piutau threatened on the left flank.
Ulster's massive pressure and domination of possession, however, quickly produced the game's first try. And again it was Piutau who did damage the big wing skipping through a tackle before linking with Ruan Pienaar. Then when the ball was moved right Darren Cave had the comparatively easy task of touching down in the corner.
Glasgow still enjoying the man advantage then struck from a penalty kick to the corner, prop Gordon Reid forcing his way over after a sequence of short drives, Finn Russell adding the extras.
Ulster again felt short-changed when a second 'try' was scored off after Rodney Ah You was judged to have impeded the tackle on Rob Herring as the hooker crossed the Glasgow line.
Finally fortune changed for Ulster after the visitors were awarded a penalty try after Leonardo Sarto was judged to have made a no-arm tackle on the rampaging wing Piutau as the New Zealand cap raced for the line, Jackson's easy conversion goal giving his side a 15-7 half-time lead.
Ulster looked certain to increase their lead when Jackson raced through the Glasgow defence only for the out-half to lose the ball over the line after Seymour put in a tackle. But in any case the referee had spotted an offside offence that resulted in a penalty goal from Russell.
Incredibly, Glasgow struck back with a break by Alex Dunbar, a half break by Stuart Hogg and then clinical finishing from Seymour, Russell's touchline conversion giving the home side a 17-15 lead.
But a wide move by the Ulster backs gave Jackson a riposte try after Pienaar, Cave and Payne had made priceless contributions in the build-up to the score. Jackson converted to put his side five points clear. Glasgow tried desperately to close the gap but the home men were unable to breach Ulster's iron defence, leaving the men in white to savour a titanic win.
Glasgow Warriors - S Hogg; L Sarto (R Hughes 49), M Bennett, A Dunbar, T Seymour; F Russell, H Pyrgos (A Price 71); G Reid (A Allan 29), F Brown, Z Fagerson (S Puafisi 59), G Peterson (C Flynn 22), J Gray, T Uanivi (S Thomsin , L Wynne, R Wilson (M Fagerson 70).
Ulster - J Payne, L Ludik, D Cave, S McCloskey (S Olding 13), C Piutau; P Jackson, R Pienaar; A Warwick (C Black 61), R Herring (R Best 47), R Ah You (R Kane 54), A O'Connor (P Browne 54), F van der Merwe, I Henderson, S Reidy, R Wilson (C Ross 59)
Ref - I Davies (WRU)