Glasgow 27-9 Ulster Rugby: Ulstermen out-muscled by Warriors
Ulster Rugby were out-muscled by an outstanding Glasgow Warriors performance on Friday night, suffering a 27-9 defeat at the Scotstoun Stadium.
The Ulstermen started off confidently with Paddy Jackson kicking the scoreline into their favour at 9-3 up on penalties.
But he had an important miss in the 31st minute and Glasgow closed the half with a fine try from Sean Maitland.
The conversion by Finn Russell added to his earlier penalty allowing Glasgow to go in leading 10-9 and they dominated the second half, scoring tries through Tommy Seymour and man of the match Mark Bennett, with Russell converting both and adding a penalty.
Glasgow Warriors took their unbeaten run to five matches and can now look forward to an exciting end to the regular season as they seek a top-two finish, with a previously-postponed home game against Edinburgh next Saturday followed by Treviso away and Zebre back at Scotstoun.
The pressure is now on Ulster to retain a top-two place to ensure they get a home tie in the play-offs. They have the difficult all-Irish run-in of Leinster at home and Munster away to wrap up the regular season.
On a beautiful Glasgow spring evening the first scoring chance fell to Ulster number 10 Jackson but he sliced his effort from a central position on the home 10-metre line.
Glasgow looked the more likely at this stage with good work from Maitland and Seymour.
In the ninth minute full-back Peter Murchie broke to the Ulster 22, won a penalty which was tapped and when interfered with, the advanced penalty was hit home by Russell.
Ulster were sloppy but as the first quarter ended they got their act together.
The renowned Glasgow defence was put under pressure and three close-in penalties were conceded, struck home by Jackson in the 21st, 25th and 28th minutes.
The second of those saw Glasgow number eight Ryan Wilson pick up Glasgow's 10th yellow card of the season, sent to the sin bin by referee John Lacey.
Jackson missed a tricky penalty in the 31st minute and Glasgow hit back in the closing minutes of the half to go in ahead.
A break initiated by centre Mark Bennett was halted two metres out thanks to a brilliant tackle on Peter Horne by Luke Marshall.
But Glasgow kep the pressure on and a wonderful pass from youngster Russell put in Maitland for a 40th-minute try converted by Russell.
Within 10 minutes of the restart Glasgow led 20-9.
First Russell kicked a penalty, with Ulster flanker Sean Doyle sin-binned.
Then a Glasgow line-out drive, with backs attached, ended with one-time Ulster winger Seymour getting the touchdown and Russell converting from the touchline.
Ulster came back and Andrew Trimble was cut down under the Glasgow bar before a line-out drive was referred to the television adjudicator, only to be disallowed.
Glasgow, boosted by their defensive effort, got upfield and following a line-out drive, centre Bennett came back against the grain to reach the Irish line. Again the TV official was given work to do and this time he awarded the try, which Russell converted.
Glasgow closed out the game in the Ulster half, with only a fine tackle from Trimble preventing them from getting the try bonus point.
Munster can overtake both sides, however, if they win at Connacht on Saturday evening.
Glasgow Warriors: P Murchie, S Maitland, M Bennett, P Horne, T Seymour, F Russell, C Cusiter (capt), G Reid, D Hall, J Welsh, T Swinson, J Gray, J Strauss, C Fusaro, R Wilson.
Replacements: P Macarthur, R Grant, G Cross, L Nakarawa, R Harley, N Matawalu, R Jackson, R Vernon.
Ulster: R Andrew; T Bowe, D Cave, L Marshall, A Trimble; P Jackson, P Marshall; T Court, R Herring, R Lutton; J Muller (Captain), I Henderson; C Henry, S Doyle, N Williams
Replacements: N Annett, A Warwick, D Fitzpatrick, L Stevenson, M McComish, M Heaney, J McKinney, C Gilroy.
Belfast Telegraph Digital