Glasgow Warriors 13 Ulster 19
Ulster returned from their five-week break with an important away win over Glasgow Warriors but lost ground in the race to top Conference A in the Guinness PRO14 to interprovincial rivals Leinster.
Dan McFarland’s men could manage only three tries in their 19-13 win over the Warriors at Scotstoun Stadium while at the same time Leinster came away with the maximum haul from their 35-29 win over the Dragons in Newport.
The two results mean Leinster are now five points clear at the top of Conference A and firmly in the driving seat to reach the PRO14 Final at Ulster’s expense.
That made the feeling in Glasgow one of a hollow victory, with the visitors now fully aware that only bonus point wins will likely do from here on in if they want to stand any chance of topping the Conference and reaching their second consecutive Final.
That includes a meeting with Leinster themselves on March 6 at Kingspan Stadium, which Ulster will likely also have to win with a bonus point and without giving one to their rivals, making their task all the more difficult.
They also suffered a significant blow with the sight of star No.8 Marcell Coetzee helped off the pitch after receiving a blow to his leg, and they will hope the injury suffered by the Springbok, who is leaving at the end of the season to return to South Africa, isn’t as bad as initially feared.
The game was far from a classic as mistakes dominated a low-scoring first-half that finally saw the deadlock broken in the 37th minute when Adam Hastings kicked a Glasgow penalty.
Michael Lowry got Ulster off the mark on the stroke of half-time with a fine score before Coetzee was forced off, and Craig Gilroy and Nick Timoney both crossed early in the second half to put Ulster one try away from the bonus point.
However, Alby Mathewson’s yellow card for a deliberate knock-on led to Aki Seiuli scoring a late consolation for the Warriors and, with the clock in the red, Ian Madigan kicked the ball dead, ending the game and leaving Ulster with just four points for their efforts.