Ulster v Glasgow Warriors: Franco Smith sees positives in defeat

Jamie Dobie and Gregor Hiddleston score tries for Scots side

Jamie Dobie captained Glasgow Warriors and scored a try against Ulster. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Jamie Dobie captained Glasgow Warriors and scored a try against Ulster. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

Ulster 19

Glasgow 14

ROBBIE MAIN @ Kingspan Breffni

AFTER Glasgow were edged out in the first Scotland versus Ireland clash of the weekend, Warriors boss Franco Smith believes his side can take plenty from their 19-14 defeat.

In the unusual surrounds of Cavan’s Kingspan Breffni Stadium due to a relaying of Ulster’s pitch in Belfast, Glasgow spent huge swathes of the game in defence and saw minimal ball for long passages.

While scrum-half Jamie Dobbie and replacement hooker Gregor Hiddleston both crossed the whitewash, there were patches of this pre-season game that will have felt like an attack against defence drill.


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“I think without the ball we were really good,” said Smith. “We probably made between 220 and 230 tackles which is what is necessary from a fitness perspective, from a character perspective, from a team-building perspective.

“In that regard I’m really happy with the players attitude.

“I’m obviously disappointed we didn’t get anything going in attack. I think Ulster deprived us well of ball at the breakdown specifically so there’s a lot of work to do but that’s in our DNA so I don’t have too much concern about that.

“Look, again, there’s a young bunch of players, players that didn’t get the opportunity last season that have worked hard in preseason.

“Every time when it was physical, in the mauls, the scrum, breakdown was good. There were technical errors here and there but something we can work with.”

Glasgow will certainly take heart from how they largely repelled Ulster’s maul. While the province’s scores did come off the set-piece, time and time again Dan McFarland‘s men were left frustrated after going to the corner.

The breakdown work of the Glasgow’s back-row unit was particularly prominent too but there’ll be a real desire to see more with ball in hand when the serious business of the league starts in two weeks’ time.

After Hiddleston’s score from the maul three minutes into the second-half, which reduced the deficit after Dave Ewers, James Hume and Tom Stewart had crossed for Ulster in the first-half with Dobie’s converted score the only Glasgow response, there were precious few opportunities to complete the comeback and indeed further Ulster scores looked the more likely through the game’s final quarter.

But with pre-season now nearing a close, Glasgow will certainly feel the physical nature of this contest will stand them in good stead, and there was, as Smith noted, plenty of lengthy defensive sets that augur well for the year ahead.

Indeed, Glasgow will be well acquainted with Irish opposition soon enough with their opener against Leinster at home before a return to Irish shores to face Connacht in Round Two.

“We have Ulster and Munster in Rounds Five and Six so before Christmas we’ll be done with Ireland,” noted Smith.

“We’ll take it one game at a time, try and have a good start, and make our supporters proud.”

 

Teams – 

Ulster Rugby: W Addison; R Baloucoune, J Hume, J Postlethwaite, J Stockdale; J Flannery, N Doak; A Warwick, T Stewart, G McGrath, M Rea, K Treadwell, D Ewers, M Rea, D McCann. Replacements: J Andrew, B Burns, B Carson, R Crothers, A Curtis, C Doak, B Griffin, C Izuchukwu, E McIlroy, C Mckee, S Moore, B Moxham, S O’Brien, A Sexton, D Shanahan, H Sheridan, N Timoney

Glasgow Warriors: J McKay; S Cancelliere, D Munn, T Jordan, K Rowe; D Weir, J Dobie; N McBeth, A Fraser, L Sordoni, M Williamson, A Samuel, G Brown, A Miller, H Venter. Replacements: G Heddleston, O Kebble, E Pieretto, R Hart, T Gordon, B Afshar, R Thompson, F Cordero, C Tait, B Salmon, K Johnston, O Horne.

Scorers –

Ulster: Tries: Ewers, Hume, Stewart; Cons; Flannery 2.

Glasgow: Tries: Dobie, G Heddleston; Cons: D Weir 2.

 

Yellow cards –

Glasgow: McBeth


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