Ulster will return less than a week after succumbing 32-10 in the final regular season game but Scotland internationalist Ashe insists that 22-point win does not make victory a given. Ulster, whose chances of securing a home play-off had been reduced to slim, rested Test stars Rory Best, Tommy Bowe, Ruan Pienaar and Paddy Jackson last weekend but will be back at full strength tomorrow. Hooker Rob Herring is also available after a Pro12 Disciplinary Committee yesterday cleared him off stamping during Saturday’s game.
The committee concluded that Herring had been held in a ruck by two opponents after the ball had left the ruck and that his actions were the result of him trying to release himself.
Ulster can also look back on a dominant first-half display on Saturday and have the carrot of reaching a final to be played at their own Kingspan Stadium in Belfast.
“Ulster probably looked at what we did at the weekend, went back home and are going to come back firing with some different stuff,” said 21-year-old Ashe, who was named Glasgow’s young player of the year at last night’s awards dinner. “That’s part of the game in these back-to-back matches. We’re obviously going to have stuff to throw back at them. That’s just part of it, and we all look forward to it.”
Ashe does feel that Glasgow have the momentum and is confident that the team can do the business in front of another sold-out Scotstoun.
“I think momentum’s massive,” he said. “To come back here for the second week on the trot will be tough for them. They got beat the week before and it’s never nice to go to a place where you’ve been beaten – your memories of getting beaten and all the rest of it can affect the way you perform as a team. Having to travel back and forth is not ideal for them either.
“Definitely having a home semi, with the way the crowd reacted for us last week is a bonus. I don’t think any team has won an away semi-final ever, so it’s massive for us and, if we can get the same again from them, that will be brilliant.”
Last weekend, a bonus point was very much on the Warriors’ minds but tomorrow it will all be about just getting one more point than their opponents.
Ashe said: “In terms of points we just need to get as many points on the board as we can, whether it be kicking penalties or all the rest of it. So I think it will be a slightly different game this week – probably more like a Test match almost rather than a need-to-get-a-bonus-point-win sort of game.”