Glasgow Warriors 36
GARY HEATLY @ Scotstoun Stadium
A SECOND-HALF slump had seen Glasgow lose to Ulster in Belfast last weekend, but there was nothing wrong with the Warriors’ stamina in this rematch as Adam Nicol claimed the winner three minutes from the end of a contest that saw several swings of fortune.
The Warriors gave a run out to 31 players over the course of this, their second and last pre-season friendly, and head coach Dave Rennie will now contemplate which of his charges have done enough to be selected to head to South Africa next weekend as the squad prepare for their opening Pro14 match against the Cheetahs. The likes of man of the match Glenn Bryce, centre Stafford McDowall and captain for the day Chris Fusaro will have impressed the coaching group, and Rennie had a lot more to be pleased about than after last week’s 50-19 loss.
“I’m happy with the win,” he said. “They’re a good side, Ulster, so it was a real arm-wrestle and could have gone either way.
“They asked a lot of questions of us, and while a lot of our defence was a big step up from last week’s there are still areas around connection and trust where we have to be better defensively. We didn’t look after the ball well enough in the first 20 minutes, but credit to the boys for fighting back on numerous occasions and getting the win to set us up nicely for South Africa.”
The first kick-off of the match from the Warriors went straight into touch and their poor start continued in the third minute. After a good penalty kick to touch the Irish side worked a lineout drive to perfection and hooker Rob Herring went over for the unconverted try.
Ulster scored their second try after quarter of an hour, winger Rob Lyttle putting in a well-controlled grubber kick on the left and gathering it himself to go over. Scrum-half John Cooney converted.
More than 25 minutes had passed before the Warriors managed to construct a convincing attack, one that saw Huw Jones hold off a couple of defenders and reach the Ulster 22 before the visitors regrouped. They kept up the momentum after that, though, and were soon awarded a penalty try. As well as conceding seven points, Ulster also lost Jordi Murphy, on as an early replacement for Nick Timoney in the back row, to the sin bin for illegally stopping the forward momentum when the try was given.
Four minutes later Glasgow were ahead, Jones setting up Rory Hughes, who ran in from 50 metres for a try. Stand-off Brandon Thomson converted to make it 14-12 before Hughes had to go off injured, replaced by Ratu Tagive. Warriors loosehead prop Oli Kebble was yellow-carded for a needless dangerous tackle a few minutes before half-time before a Thomson penalty made it 17-12 at the break.
Ulster went back ahead soon after the second half kicked off, centre Stuart McCloskey the man going over with Cooney converting. But Glasgow soon hit back when Johnny Matthews, the man who scored so many tries for Boroughmuir last term, scored one for his new club. Thomson converted and it was 24-19.
Just before the hour mark, Ulster were awarded a penalty try and Glasgow’s replacement hooker Grant Stewart was sent to the sin bin for his part in the incident. However, despite being a man down, the Warriors managed to score their fourth try, nice work by Thomson setting up full-back Glenn Bryce for the try. Thomson converted.
As both teams made countless substitutions the game remained open and Ulster went ahead once again with 13 minutes remaining when centre James Hume dotted down. Replacement Bill Johnston added the conversion and it was 33-31.
In the last 10 minutes Glasgow, who lost replacement Ruaridh Jackson to an HIA, upped the tempo in search of the winning score. With teenage scrum-half Jamie Dobie making a home debut by now, they did manage to get the winner in the 77th minute. From a lineout the pack played their part for Nicol to go over for an unconverted effort and 36-33 was how it finished.
On the injury sustained by Jackson and knocks that forced Hughes and second-row Andrew Davidson off, Rennie said: “Ruaridh took a bang to the head so we will see how things pan out, Rory had a bit of an achilles niggle, but we probably could have put him back on if needed and Andrew took a knock that we’ll have to assess.”
Glasgow Warriors: G Bryce; K Steyn, H Jones, S McDowall, R Hughes; B Thomson, N Frisby; O Kebble, J Matthews, D Rae, A Davidson, T Swinson, R Harley, C Fusaro©, A Ashe. Substitutes: G Stewart, A Allan, A Nicol, K McDonald, B Flockhart, S Kennedy, P Kelly, R Jackson, M Fagerson, J Dobie, C Capps, N Grigg, R Tagive, G Lowe.
Ulster: M Faddes; C Gilroy, J Hume, S McCloskey, R Little; B Burns©, J Cooney; E O’Sullivan, R Herring, R Kane, K Treadwell, S Carter, M Rea, S Reidy, N Timoney. Substitutes: J Andrew, K McCall, T O’Toole, A O’Connor, J Murphy, G Jones, D Shanahan, B Johnston, W Addison, A Kernohan.
Scorers: Glasgow: Tries: penalty try, Hughes, Matthews, Bryce, Nicol. Pen: Thomson. Cons: Thomson 3.
Ulster: Tries: Herring, Lyttle, McCloskey, penalty try, Hume. Cons: Cooney 2, Johnston.
Scoring sequence: (Glasgow first): 0-5, 0-10, 0-12, 7-12, 12-12, 14-12, 17-12 half-time, 17-17, 17-19, 22-19, 24-19, 24-26, 29-26, 31-26, 31-31, 31-33, 36-33.
Yellow cards: Glasgow: Kebble, Stewart. Ulster: Murphy.
Referee: Ben Blain.