Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Captain Kellock aiming to hit heights against Ulster

Glasgow’s captain Ally Kellock regularly reaches for the skies as one of Europe's foremost line-out specialists, but his side's European prospects will be grounded if they can't hit the heights against Ulster tonight.

Captain Kellock aiming to hit heights against UlsterGLASGOW’S captain Ally Kellock regularly reaches for the skies as one of Europe's foremost line-out specialists, but his side's European prospects will be grounded if they can't hit the heights against Ulster tomorrow night.

Kellock soared with remarkable athleticism to gather two line-outs and help create two stunning set-piece tries to rock Northampton in the opening half of the Franklin's Gardens clash last Sunday.

However, the Scottish side, semi-finalists in last season's Pro12 but perennial under-achievers in Europe, slumped in the second half as a litany of errors cancelled out all their good work.

Now their Heineken Cup qualification hopes are resting on a knife-edge in what is a difficult pool — they face back-to-back December clashes with Castres after tomorrow's Scotstoun encounter.

“Yeah, we need to get on track sooner rather than later,” Kellock said. “You don't get many second chances in this competition.

“We know that the first 35 minutes or so of the game against Northampton were pretty good from our point of view and we're really disappointed we didn't get anything more out of the game.

“There are several positives to take. We went to Northampton, one of the most difficult grounds for any team to go to, and were very competitive. Basic organisation let us down, individual defensive errors let us down and that's an area we must focus on before facing Ulster.”

Kellock dismisses suggestions that his side were simply overpowered by the English side, who took control of matters in the second half before running out 24-15, bonus-point winners.

“It wasn't the power game at all,” he explained. “We didn't feel overwhelmed in any way. We knew we had dealt with their main threats very well and hopefully the one-off mistakes will be easy for us to fix.”

Kellock admits that an unbeaten Ulster side, brimming with confidence after belatedly securing the bonus point in Ravenhill against Castres in their European opener, will be a tough nut to crack, despite a minor breakdown in their set-piece from touch.

“They're going really well. We know what they can do and they're producing some of the best rugby seen up there in years,” he said.

“That's been building and now they're bringing different aspects to the game. Their line-out is very strong. Although they coughed up a bit in the second half on Friday, it remains a significant strength for them.”

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