Townsend hails sec­ond-half show­ing, but wounded War­riors fall just a sin­gle try shy

The Herald - Herald Sport - - RUGBY UNION - GLAS­GOW WAR­RIORS UL­STER STU­ART BATH­GATE 17 22

GLAS­GOW went down to their sec­ond suc­ces­sive league de­feat last night af­ter a sec­ond-half fight­back just fell short against hugely pow­er­ful op­po­nents.

Ul­ster could have been out of sight, rather than merely 15-7 up, at the end of a first half in which they were by far the su­pe­rior side.

The War­riors, sorely de­pleted by in­jury in that open­ing 40, per­formed con­sid­er­ably bet­ter in the sec­ond half and took the lead at one point, but over the piece they de­served no more than the los­ing bonus point.

It was the first time Gre­gor Townsend’s team had lost at home since their de­feat by Scar­lets at the start of last sea­son, and only the sec­ond time in nearly three years.

The head coach was, how­ever, en­cour­aged by his team’s im­proved per­for­mance af­ter the break.

“I thought we played very well in the sec­ond half, and I’m very proud of the ef­fort,” Townsend said. “We had a dis­ap­point­ing start to our last two games, but we showed much more char­ac­ter and ef­fort in the sec­ond half tonight.”

Paddy Jack­son gave the vis­i­tors a sixth-minute lead with a long-range penalty, hav­ing ear­lier been wide of the mark with a closer ef­fort.

Full-back Jared Payne thought he had added a try to that when he sliced through the War­riors de­fence to touch down, but the score was chalked off be­cause of a dan­ger­ous clear-out by Iain Hen­der­son in the build-up.

The flanker was yel­low-carded, but Ul­ster soon ex­tended their lead with a Dar­ren Cave try. Charles Pi­u­tau had al­ready left Stu­art Hogg for dead in one left-wing at­tack, and on his sec­ond foray he made sub­stan­tial in­roads be­fore the ball was spread right for Cave to touch down in the cor­ner. The con­ver­sion at­tempt was missed.

The home team’s re­ply was im­me­di­ate and em­phatic. A se­ries of rucks took the War­riors ever closer to the Ul­ster line, Finn Rus­sell was halted just short, and then Gor­don Reid fin­ished the move off by div­ing over from a me­tre out. Rus­sell, mak­ing his re­turn from in­jury on his 24th birth­day, con­verted the try.

The New Zealand hooker Corey Flynn, a late ad­di­tion to the bench in place of Pat MacArthur, came on much ear­lier than an­tic­i­pated when lock Greg Peter­son was taken off in­jured.

Tji­uee Uanivi moved from the back row to his more usual po­si­tion in the sec­ond row, Fraser Brown went from hooker to his old po­si­tion on the flank, and Flynn slot­ted into the No.2 berth. There was fur­ther dis­rup­tion when Uanivi was next to be forced off, with his place go­ing to debu­tant Sam Thom­son.

Ul­ster thought they had stretched their lead when Rob Her­ring touched down from a maul, but again, the Tele­vi­sion Match Of­fi­cial ruled it no score, this time for ob­struc­tion in front of the ball-car­rier by Rod­ney Ah You.

It was the cor­rect de­ci­sion, but the ref­eree’s next big call was not so warmly re­ceived by the home crowd, as Ul­ster were awarded a penalty try when Leonardo Sarto stopped Pi­u­tau a few me­tres from the li­ne­out without putting in a proper tackle.

The Ital­ian winger was yel­low-carded, Jack­son added the two points from in front of the posts, and a half that had lasted al­most an hour thanks to in­jury de­lays ended with Ul­ster 15-7 up. It could well have been a lot more.

Rus­sell took his team’s tally to 10 with a penalty which was the first score of the sec­ond half, and although the War­riors had to en­dure some se­vere pres­sure af­ter that, they hit back to level through a Tommy Sey­mour try in the right cor­ner.

Rus­sell, who had aban­doned the pro­tec­tive head­gear he was ex­pected to wear for the rest of the sea­son, con­verted to put his team ahead for the first time right on the hour mark.

The lead did not last. Within min­utes, an­other light­ning break by Ul­ster’s backs from a turnover in their own half ended with Jack­son scor­ing by the posts, and the stand-off con­verted his own try.

Glas­gow had chances to re­gain the lead, but Ul­ster proved as solid in de­fence as they had ear­lier been in­ci­sive in at­tack.

They main­tain their 100 per cent record, while the War­riors travel to the New­port Gwent Drag­ons next week in a ef­fort to re­turn to win­ning ways.

S Hogg; L Sarto (R Hughes 49, N Grigg 76), M Ben­nett, A Dun­bar, T Sey­mour; F Rus­sell, H Pyr­gos (A Price 72); G Reid (A Al­lan 28), F Brown, Z Fager­son (S Puafisi 51), G Peter­son (C Flynn 23), J Gray, T Uanivi (S Thom­son 31),

Glas­gow War­riors

L Wynne, Ryan Wil­son (M Fager­son 71) Reid, Sey­mour Rus­sell 2 Rus­sell J Payne; L Ludik, D Cave, S McCloskey (S Old­ing 14, R Lyt­tle 51), C Pi­u­tau; P Jack­son, R Pien­aar; A War­wick (C Black 61), R Her­ring (R Best 48), R Ah You (R Kane 55), A O’Con­nor (P Brown 55), F van der Merwe, I Hen­der­son, S Reidy, Roger Wil­son (C Ross 59) P Mar­shall Cave, penalty try, Jack­son Jack­son 2 Jack­son I Davies (Wales) 7351

Scor­ers. Tries Cons Pen Ul­ster Sub­sti­tute not used Scor­ers. Tries Cons Ref­eree At­ten­dance Pen

GUMMY GRIN: Gor­don Reid smiles af­ter touch­ing down for Glas­gow War­riors first try at Scot­stoun last night.

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