Glasgow Warriors slumped to the second Heineken Cup defeat of their campaign after Ulster defeated them 19-8 in front of a capacity Scotstoun crowd.
Despite Glasgow taking an early lead, it was Ulster who dominated proceedings and through the on form Paddy Jackson and a Chris Henry try, they found themselves in a comfortable 19-3 lead with minutes remaining on the clock. The Warriors managed to score a late try from substitute Niko Matawalu but it proved to be too little too late as Ulster ran out deserved winners.
The wind was gusty and rain relentless, making conditions difficult in the early stages; Ruan Pienaar saw his long range penalty effort drift wide of the sticks after three minutes.
It wasn’t just the visiting side that struggled with the wind and rain though, with Peter Horne slamming wide a penalty after 18 minutes. However, the inside centre learnt from his mistake and slotted the ball in between the posts after 23 minutes to give the Warriors a 3-0 lead.
As the wind subsided, Ulster were awarded a penalty from 30 metres after 25 minutes and Paddy Jackson was able to collect three points.
Glasgow proved undisciplined under attack and they committed an offence in their own 22 with half an hour gone allowing Ulster to edge a 6-3 lead.
As the break neared, the wind and rain relented but that didn’t help Peter Horne who saw a 35 metre kick from the touchline sail wide.
Half time- Glasgow Warriors 3-6 Ulster
In the first half, Ruaridh Jackson’s kicking from hand had proven unreliable and that continued early in the second half when he failed to get the required distance on an up and under. This clearly affected his confidence and saw him fail to convert a 42 minute penalty.
With 63 minutes gone, Ulster found themselves parked on Glasgow’s five metre line and after an almighty effort from the forwards, flanker Chris Henry scored the try. There was much debate about whether the ball was grounded but referee Mathieu Raynal awarded the try after referring to the TMO and Paddy Jackson slammed over the resultant conversion.
After going ahead by 10 points, Ulster oozed with confidence and soon increased their lead by three points from another Paddy Jackson penalty.
Jackson was in imperious form and with the final whistle looming he increased Ulster’s lead by a further three points with a 30 metre penalty which sailed into the terracing occupied by a raucous Ulster travelling support.
Despite rarely testing the Ulster defensive line, the Warriors did notch a try in the dying moments through a rare foray into their opponents 22. A cross kick from Ruaridh Jackson brought sighs of frustration from the Warriors crowd but they were soon cheering when substitute Niko Matawalu caught the ball and dotted down.
That was to be the last real action at Scotstoun allowing Ulster to travel home in celebration of the second victory of their Heineken Cup campaign, having effectively put Glasgow’s hopes to bed.
Glasgow, however, will need to reshuffle and pick themselves up ahead of next week’s trip to Italy where they take on Benetton Treviso in the RaboDirect PRO12.
Full time- Glasgow Warriors 8-19 Ulster
UPDATE: Post match quotes:
Gregor Townsend: “I thought we were very competitive in the first half but in the second period we couldn’t get going.
“Ultimately discipline led to them getting points on the board. They also have a strong line out and that helped them score the try which pushed them out of reach.
“We’ve got four games to play in the group and we know we have to win them all to qualify.
“I believe we have a group of players capable of doing that.
“By the time the games come around in December again then we will have a bigger squad of players available.
Al Kellock: “We knew it was going to be hard work and we need to find the added bit of quality that they had and we didn’t.
“The desire is always there but we’ve lost two games in the Heineken Cup now and that is bitterly disappointing.
“We’ve done all the work that suggests we should be winning these games. We need to be brutally honest with ourselves and work out why we didn’t.
“After two games I would never say the campaign is 100% over but we’ve made it extremely difficult.
“The performance wasn’t good enough as we have to win our Heineken Cup games at home.
“I said to the players that the next two games can either make us stronger and better, or they could make us worse.
“We’ve got two massive games coming up the league before the November break and we need to win it.”
Glasgow Warriors-S Hogg, B McGuigan(Matawalu), P Murchie, P Horne(Wight), A Dunbar, R Jackson, H Pyrgos, R Grant, D Hall, M Cusack(Fainga’anuku), T Ryder(Swinson), A Kellock (c), J Strauss(Harley), C Fusaro(Barclay), R Wilson
Replacements-F Gillies, G Reid
Ulster-J Payne; T Bowe, D Cave, P Wallace(L Marshall), A Trimble(Gilroy), P Jackson( P Marshall), R Pienaar, T Court, R Best, J Afoa, J Muller (c), D Tuohy, I Henderson(McComish), C Henry, N Williams;
Replacements- R Herring, C Black, A Macklin, L Stevenson
Man of the Match- Rory Best