Five-star Ulster leapfrog Glasgow and close the gap on Pro12 leaders

Ruan Pienaar celebrates the bonus-point try with Luke Marshall and Sean Reidy. Source: Presseye/Darren Kidd/INPHO



Ulster Rugby 37Glasgow Warriors 17

Adam McKendry reports from the Kingspan Stadium

ULSTER MOVED ABOVE Glasgow in the Pro12 standings and kept in touch with the top four following an excellent 37-17 win over the Scots at the Kingspan Stadium.

Tommy Bowe and Sean Reidy crossed before the break with a brace from replacement Jacob Stockdale and a further score from Ruan Pienaar securing the bonus-point win that takes Ulster into fifth.

It took 10 minutes for the hosts to open the scoring, Ruan Pienaar knocking over a penalty after Callum Black and Marcell Coetzee combined well over the ball.

Les Kiss had to deal with the loss of Louis Ludik three minutes later as he limped off injured but it was his replacement, Jacob Stockdale, who came to Ulster’s rescue a minute later as Mark Bennett crashed up close to the line only for the young winger to prevent a try by stopping the next man out wide.

It was the other winger, Tommy Bowe, who both started and finished Ulster’s first try, breaking all the way from Ulster’s 22 into the Glasgow half and eventually finishing off after Stockdale showed great hands to set him over.

Bowe: got Ulster up and running. Source: Presseye/Darren Kidd/INPHO

There was great concern for Glasgow winger Lee Jones, who had to be carted off the pitch with a really bad head knock, before Ulster got their second try as Sean Reidy managed to wriggle over from close range.

Everything seemed to be falling Ulster’s way even though Glasgow had the lion’s share of possession and territory, but the Scots would go in with a score to their name as Brandon Thomson crossed with the last play to make it 15-5 at the break.

Reidy was on the mark in the first half. Source: Presseye/Brian Little/INPHO

Pienaar got the scoring underway in the second half with a penalty three minutes after the restart, before the hosts got their third try as a delightful pass from Luke Marshall set Stockdale through a gap and under the posts.

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Four minutes later and the bonus-point try came, and it was the best of the lot, Bowe making an excellent try-saving tackle before Ulster put it through nine pairs of hands allowing Pienaar to outpace the last man on the outside for the score.

Ulster led 30-5 and arguably could have scored two or three more in the next 10 minutes as both Craig Gilroy and Rob Herring went close, and it looked like the riot would be completed when Rob Harley was yellow carded for a dangerous clear out.

Remarkably Glasgow fought back through two tries from Scott Cummings. The second was definitely a score as he crashed over under the posts, but there were questions over the first with the replays showing he had knocked it on in the act of grounding it.

Any fears of a Super Bowl-style comeback were quelled, however, as Stockdale scored his second, chipping over the top and regathering to score himself, ensuring Ulster will end the weekend above Glasgow in the table and still in touch with the top four.

ULSTER: Louis Ludik (Jacob Stockdale 12′); Tommy Bowe, Luke Marshall, Darren Cave (Paul Marshall 40′), Craig Gilroy; Peter Nelson (Jack Owens 67′), Ruan Pienaar; Callum Black (Andy Warwick 47′), John Andrew (Rob Herring 33′), Ricky Lutton (Wiehahn Herbst 40′); Pete Browne (Kieran Treadwell 55′), Franco van der Merwe; Sean Reidy, Chris Henry (Robbie Diack 73′), Marcell Coetzee.

GLASGOW WARRIORS: Brandon Thomson; Lee Jones (Rory Hughes 24′, Grayson Hart 62′), Mark Bennett (Richie Vernon 54′), Nick Grigg, Sean Lamont; Peter Horne, Henry Pyrgos; Alex Allan (Jamie Bhatti 54′), James Malcolm (Corey Flynn 54′), Sila Puafisi (D’arcy Rae 54′); Brian Alainu’uese, Scott Cummings (Tjiuee Uanivi 77′); Rob Harley (yellow card 67′ to 77′), Simone Favaro (Lewis Wynne 54′), Adam Ashe.

Referee: Dan Jones [WAL].

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