After their mauling at the hands of Saracens in Europe last Saturday, Glasgow Warriors restored their injured pride and collected maximum points with this clinical and dominant display against a good Ulster side who are fighting Edinburgh for playoff places.
The visitors were far too slapdash, coughing up 12 turnovers in the first half alone, giving Glasgow easy outs, oh, and they dropped the ball over the Glasgow line, twice, which didn’t help any.
Restored to Scotstoun, Glasgow were vastly improved. Kyle Steyn is happier at 13 than 14, Jonny Gray, pictured, got man of the match on his 100th appearance and Adam Hastings ran the show from ten with some aplomb as the win kept the Warriors top of Conference A, three points ahead of Munster.
They also bossed the set scrum with Oli Kebble and they did the same when he was replaced by Jamie Bhatti.
In fact Glasgow milked scrum penalties all evening. The defence was porous in the opening exchanges but tightened up as the match progressed and Glasgow’s attack was on the money, patient when needs be and clinical at all times.
They scored three tries in the first half and another, into the wind, at the start of the second forty. Only their discipline let them down... again. Two daft penalties late in the first half saw Ulster camped on the Glasgow line and, had the visitors scored then, this might have turned out very differently.
The home team had first dibs of a powerful east wind so there was a frisson of dread that ran through the Scotstoun crowd when Ulster opened the scoring with relative ease after just seven minutes. Hooker Rob Herring barged past a couple of defenders from a driving maul five metres out.
Thankfully for the Scotstoun faithful, Glasgow responded with two quickfire tries of their own. The first went to Fraser Brown in a carbon copy of Ulster’s opening score. The second went to Hastings after Steyn took the ball close to the Ulster line. Stuart Hogg might have scored it but the full-back was tackled off the ball and instead Hastings finished off the move in the corner.
The same man made one conversion, hit the upright with the other and added a monster penalty from 48 metres that came directly from Glasgow’s scrum dominance. The ball sailed over the bar with space to spare. The young stand-off then rode his luck, penalised for a deliberate knock-on but not carded, to Ulster’s frustration.
Two events at the end of the first half suggested that Glasgow were in the mood. First up the home forwards repelled an Ulster maul with a show of brute force. Secondly Glasgow then marched the ball back upfield and, with the clock in the red numbers, showed the sort of patience that they are not famous for, running through the phases until Tommy Seymour scored in the corner.
Glasgow took a 20-7 lead into the break and, if that wasn’t the game, then the bonus-point fourth try by Zander Fagerson, who drove over just three minutes into the second half gave the hosts a 20-point margin that proved enough on the night.
Just five minutes later Ulster centre Luke Marshall was sent over the Glasgow line after a beautiful offload from Jacob Stockdale only to drop the ball. Stockdale could sympathise with his colleague having done the same last weekend against Leinster but it was a costly error and it wasn’t the only one of the evening from the visitors.
Hastings extended Glasgow’s lead by another three points as the match entered the final quarter.
Ulster winger Rob Lyttle thought he’d scored a break-away try ten minutes out only to knock-on after a brilliant cover tackle from Seymour.