Ulster conclude pre-season with friendly defeat in Glasgow
Glasgow Warriors 36-33 Ulster Rugby
Ulster finalised their preparations for the new season as they fell to a 36-33 defeat in a highly entertaining friendly at Scotstoun Stadium against the Glasgow Warriors.
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The two teams shared ten tries, five each, and in the end it was a Brandon Thomson penalty on the stroke of half-time that proved the difference.
While Dan McFarland will surely be happy with his team's offensive prowess, their maul defence left a lot to be desired, as evidenced by the fact they conceded three tries from it.
However, there were plenty of bright spots to be taken even in defeat, with centre James Hume having a timely stand-out game in midfield.
The Abbey Insurance Academy graduate could see his role in the squad magnified over the next few months with the news that Will Addison could be off to the World Cup shortly.
With the news that Robbie Henshaw has suffered a hamstring injury out in Japan, Addison was withdrawn from Ulster's starting line-up for the game, which dominated the pre-game chatter.
Marty Moore was also a late withdrawal with a niggle, but that didn't seem to deter Ulster's forwards as they mauled over for a third minute try from hooker Rob Herring to put them ahead early on.
It was also the visitors who also got the second score, a fantastic solo try from winger Robert Lyttle as he chipped down the sideline and outpaced the covering defenders to gather himself and dot down in the 15th minute.
But the Warriors came roaring back through two quick scores of their own, a penalty try off the maul that saw Jordi Murphy - on early for Matty Rea - sin-binned, before some lovely hands from Glenn Bryce and Huw Jones sent winger Rory Hughes over in the corner.
Prop Oli Kebble also saw yellow for Glasgow, but it was they that held a slender five-point lead at the interval when fly-half Thomson knocked over the only penalty of the game to end the half.
Just three minutes after the restart Ulster forged ahead again, Stuart McCloskey thundering over, but the Warriors retook the lead in the 49th minute with their second maul try, with hooker Johnny Matthews the man to touch down.
It took ten minutes for Ulster to steal back the advantage, this time their maul making the most of the momentum by driving for the line and earning the penalty try, which also saw a yellow card brandished to the hosts.
You're at your most vulnerable when you score, however, and so it proved when Glasgow won their own restart and, after showing considerable patience, scored three minutes later when Bryce was on hand to go over in the corner with the penalty advantage.
Ulster thought they had won it when Matt Faddes' excellent surge saw him break one tackle and feed the brilliant Hume for a try 14 minutes from time, but the Warriors snatched it with two minutes left from the clock as they emptied the tank to maul over once more, Adam Nicol the game-winner.
ULSTER: (15-9) M Faddes; C Gilroy, J Hume, S McCloskey, R Lyttle; B Burns, J Cooney; (1-8) E O'Sullivan, R Herring, R Kane; K Treadwell, S Carter; Mat Rea, S Reidy, N Timoney.
Subs: J Andrew, K McCall, J McGrath, T O'Toole, A O'Connor, J Murphy, G Jones, D Shanahan, B Johnston, A Curtis, A Kernohan, M Lowry, W Addison.
Belfast Telegraph Digital