Thursday 24 May 2018

Ulster finishing with a flourish

Ulster 36 Glasgow Warriors 15

Tommy Bowe of Ulster with his daughter Emma during a farewell walk around the Kingspan Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Sportsfile
Tommy Bowe of Ulster with his daughter Emma during a farewell walk around the Kingspan Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

After winning their third game in a row, in a match that saw Tommy Bowe bid farewell to Ravenhill, Ulster's play-off permutations are much clearer, if not quite yet crystal.

The lingering chase of Benetton has finally fallen away, with Ulster now six points ahead of the Italians, and the very least they can hope for is a home play-off against Ospreys for a spot in next season's Champions Cup.

Scott Cummings of Glasgow in action against Clive Ross of Ulster in a lineout. Photo: Sportsfile
Scott Cummings of Glasgow in action against Clive Ross of Ulster in a lineout. Photo: Sportsfile

There is still a chance of getting into the Guinness PRO14 round-robin, too, which would in itself bring a place in Europe's top tier, should they win with a bonus point against Munster next Saturday and Edinburgh take nothing from their own derby clash with Glasgow.

Where the picture gets murkier is the potential that a Champions Cup play-off may not be necessary should Leinster win Europe's top prize in Bilbao next month, and all Challenge Cup semi-finalists finish in qualifying places through their league.

A pack, which started without Ireland skipper Rory Best, lost Iain Henderson before kick-off after his wife gave birth, and then Jean Deysel to injury early on, still managed to make an impact with Sean Reidy and Nick Timoney both excellent.

Stuart McCloskey was the best back on show, while Johnny McPhillips and debutant Angus Curtis also did their stuff.

Stuart McCloskey of Ulster is tackled by Alex Dunbar of Glasgow. Photo: Sportsfile
Stuart McCloskey of Ulster is tackled by Alex Dunbar of Glasgow. Photo: Sportsfile

ULSTER ­- C Piutau; L Ludik, L Marshall (T Bowe 68), S McCloskey, J Stockdale; J McPhillips (A Curtis 72), J Cooney (P Marshall 40); A Warwick (K McCall 53), R Herring (R Best 62), R Kane (T O'Toole 60); A O'Connor (R Diack 76), K Treadwell; N Timoney, S Reidy, J Deysel (C Ross 15)

GLASGOW - S Hogg; T Seymour, H Jones (N Grigg 30), A Dunbar (P Horne 66), L Masaga; F Russell, A Price (H Prygos 62); A Allan (R Grant 70), F Brown (G Turner 66), S Halanukonuka (Z Fagerson 40); S Cummings, T Swinson (G Peterson 62); R Harley (M Smith 66), C Gibbins, M Fagerson

REF - S Berry (SA)

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport