Ulster were given a rugby lesson in a 50-20 defeat by an extremely talented Glasgow side in the semi finals of the Guinness PRO14 last night.

The hosts ran in seven tries, including three in the first half and a quickfire double after the interval which took the game away from Dan McFarland’s men.

John Cooney kicked an early penalty but it wasn’t until the second half when Ulster crossed the whitewash for the first time. Marcell Coetzee, Rob Herring and Michael Lowry grabbed tries in a spirited fight back in the last 20 minutes. In truth however, Glasgow were coasting throughout the game.

Kicking off in the first half, the home side were handed the momentum from the off when Stockdale failed to retrieve the kick off, leaving a gap in the middle of the pitch. Ali Price pulled a ball back to his outside centre, Kyle Steyn to beat the straggling Ulster defender and create the first line break after just 15 seconds. A loss of concentration for Ulster resulted in this which gave Glasgow the platform for the first score. Ex-Ulsterman Tommy Seymour scored his first try in the corner.

Ulster haven’t usually competed for kick offs this season with Billy Burns favouring to kick them long. After the first try it was interesting to see Burns kick slightly longer, some would say too far in comparison to the first one which Stockdale had a realistic chance of winning the ball.

Their lead was doubled when Ali Price took advantage of a defensive lapsep on the blindside after a maul had moved in field. Iain Henderson was left grasping at thin air as the Scottish international scored his side’s second try, leaving Ulster with a mountain to climb even though the game was just fourteen minutes old.

The away side had a spell in Glasgow territory for the first time after 21 minutes. The forwards took control which brought Ulster to within five minutes however a great home defence kept them out and Glasgow eventually cleared.

Rob Harley scored Glasgow’s third try on the brink of half time, putting 21 points between the sides at half time.

A big start to the second half was needed for Ulster and they almost got it. Jacob Stockdale thought he’d put Louis Ludik through the gap however play was brought back for a forward pass. With four men against two Glasgow defenders a try was likely to be scored and replays indicated that John Lacey may have got that decision wrong.

Indeed, it was a different Ulster side in the first seven minutes of the second half. Ball carriers fronted up and made yards, but they lacked the incision to cross the line for a try. A knock on and penalty at the resulting scrum eased the Ulster pressure for the home side.

Seymour’ second score sealed the game for the hosts before Kyle Steyn scored one of the tries of the season. Marcell Coetzee scored Ulster’s first try of the game with 19 minutes left while Pete Horne added a sixth Glasgow score

Tries from Rob Herring and Michael Lowry attempted to make the score look respectable but Glasgow reached 50 through a score from George Horne with four minutes left.

Ulster could have been more accurate last night, but they came up against an extremely talented Glasgow Warriors side. Ulster’s possession and territory amounted to 48% and 44% respectively which made it difficult for Dan McFarland’s men to get on the front foot.

Despite this, the progression that Ulster have made over the last 12 months has been massive and I’m sure that they’ll continue to improve as Dan McFarland tenure progresses. It’s easy to forget that the average age of that Ulster side was just 26 years of age so it’s still quite a young side, but one that will build on last night’s disappointment and I am very hopeful for the future.

6.1 Performance

The front five were dominated by Glasgow which made it very hard for Ulster to gain any momentum.

I thought Ulster's best player on the pitch was Luke Marshall. He put in nine tackles, most of them hitting Glasgow behind the gainline.
McCloskey also put in a decent performance while Ulster's ball carriers couldn't make any significant dents in the Glasgow line - Iain Henderson made his first carry after 21 minutes while Marcell Coetzee was restricted to an average of 1.4m per carry, compared to his seasonal average of 1.7m

  • Eric O'Sullivan 5
  • Rory Best 6
  • Ross Kane 5
  • Iain Henderson 5
  • Kieran Treadwell 5
  • Nick Timoney 6
  • Jordi Murphy 6
  • Marcell Coetzee 7
  • John Cooney 5
  • Billy Burns 6
  • Jacob Stockdale 6
  • Stuart McCloskey 7
  • Luke Marshall 8
  • Louis Ludik 6
  • Michael Lowry 7
  • Rob Herring 6
  • Andy Warwick 6
  • Tom O'Toole 6
  • Alan O'Connor 6
  • Sean Reidy 7
  • Dave Shanahan 7
  • Darren Cave 6
  • Angus Kernohan 6
  • User Ratings (2 Votes) 4.5