Ulster eased to a six-try victory over Conference A rivals Glasgow Warriors on Monday night.
John Andrew, Marcell Coetzee, Sam Carter and John Cooney added first half scores while Sean Reidy and Matt Faddes completed the route in the second half.
It was the visitors who were first on the board however with Niko Matawalu picking a good line off Pete Horne and TJ Ioane crossed several phases later. Glasgow had caught Ulster cold, but Dan McFarland‘s men rumbled to life shortly after with Andrew crossing from a maul.
The Ulster hooker put in an excellent performance, providing a try assist in the second half as well as a try scoring tackle at the end of the first half. With Ulster leading by four points, the tackle and subsequent turnover by Michael Lowry was a game changing moment.
John Andrew has often been Ulster’s third/fourth choice hooker and has found gametime hard to come by over the last few seasons, playing just 569 minutes in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons. With Rory Best retired and Rob Herring away on international duty, the battle for the hooker jersey has been a very good contest so far as both Adam McBurney and Andrew are putting in good performances.
Coetzee added Ulster’s second try in the 25th minute before captain Sam Carter crossed four minutes before the interval. The Belfast side were very clinical in the first half, scoring tries in all but one of their entries into the Glasgow 22.
Niko Matawalu was sent to the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on before Cooney added the fourth Ulster try.
Much like the Dragons game, it was a blistering first half which sealed the win for the home side. It has to be said that Glasgow were down to the bare bones for this match due to international call ups and injuries with Danny Wilson admitting in the post match interview with Premier Sports that they had Super Six (Scottish domestic rugby) and 7s players in the squad.
Ulster threatened to cut away in the second half; Michael Lowry combined with John Andrew to put Sean Reidy in at the corner before Matt Faddes capitalising on a thumping Marcell Coetzee tackle to hack through and score under the sticks.
Lowry looks very comfortable in the 15 jersey, especially against a weak defence. In his last two outings he was very good under the high ball while also provided a second creative outlet in the backline from set piece. The former Inst man was sent to the sin bin on 59 minutes, halting Ulster’s momentum as they threatened to score more tries against this underpowered Warriors side.
Reidy put in another man of the match performance this season, making 23 tackles without loss as well as averaging 3.9m per run over his ten carries with the ball.
Other notable performances include John Cooney, Marty Moore, Kieran Treadwell and Ethan McIlroy off the bench. Cooney certainly hasn’t let the disappointement of Ireland omission affect his game.
The win extends Ulster’s advantage over third place in Conference A to 14 points, already putting themselves in pole position to claim the home ‘semi final qualifier’ berth.
It’s the first time since 2016-17 that Ulster have gone 5/5 in the league. With an away trip to Zebre next up, it’s a great chance for Ulster to record wins in their first six league matches since 2012-13 when they won their opening 11 PRO12 matches.