Russell secures top spot for Glasgow

Date published: May 16 2015

Finn Russell scored 22 points including two tries as Glasgow secured a home semi-final and first place in the Pro12 with a 32-10 win over Ulster.

Ulster struck first blood in this huge top of the table meeting, Chris Henry opening the try scoring half an hour in.

But Glasgow came to life in the second, and two tries from Russell were sandwiched by Stuart Hogg and Richie Vernon's efforts to ensure Glasgow have the home semi-final this Friday.

At a sold-out Scotstoun, it took five minutes for Russell to kick the Warriors in front via a penalty, but that was the only real occasion worth celebrating for the hosts who conceded the game's first try.

Ulster's first five points of the evening came from Henry, who crashed over the line after a strong maul forwards from the Welsh side, the extras coming from the boot of Ian Humphreys, after Glasgow were temporarily reduced to 14 as Jonny Gray was penalised for an offside.

But five minutes before the break the gap was crucially reduced to one, Russell kicking three more points, only for Humphreys to stretch the lead back to four as the sides went in ahead with just a small gap separating them ahead of what was to be an intriguing second half.

The first 15 minutes of the second were as tightly fought as the first 40, neither side scoring in an intriguing match up with Ulster denying the hosts well.

That resistance was brought to an end with Glasgow's first try of the afternoon. It came from the magical Stuart Hogg, who expertly chipped over the Ulster backline before gathering and going in just inside the right hand corner. Russell missed the kick, leaving the deficit at one, and it was then the turn of Ulster to lose a man as Andrew Warwick was yellow carded.

In that time, Glasgow steamed ahead of the visitors, and grabbed their second try minutes later.

Russell went over for his first Warriors try after a hefty spell of pressure, converting it in the process to put Warriors firmly into the driving seat. And with 10 minutes to go, Glasgow crucially added a third again from Russell, who once again converted.

The much-needed bonus-point try arrived just two minutes later and was met by a raucous Scotstoun crowd, who saw Vernon go over after gallivanting through the Ulster defence.

The conversion again came for the fourth time from the boot of Russell, securing a home play-off semi final on Friday night, where they will again host Ulster in a rematch of Saturday's game.

The scorers:

For Glasgow:
Tries: Hogg, Russell 2, Vernon
Cons: Russell 3
Pens: Russell 2
Yellow Card: Gray

For Ulster:
Tries: Henry
Cons: Humphreys
Pens: Humphreys
Yellow Card: Warwick

Glasgow: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Richie Vernon, 12 Peter Horne, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Niko Matawalu, 8 Adam Ashe, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Josh Strauss, 5 Al Kellock (c), 4 Jonny Gray, 3 Rossouw de Klerk, 2 Dougie Hall, 1 Ryan Grant

Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Mike Cusack, 19 Leone Nakarawa, 20 Ryan Wilson, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Peter Murchie

Ulster: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Rory Scholes, 13 Sam Arnold, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Michael Allen, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Robbie Diack, 7 Chris Henry (c), 6 Clive Ross, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Louis Stevenson, 3 Ricky Lutton,  2 Rob Herring, 1 Andrew Warwick
Replacements: 16 Rory Best, 17 Kyle McCall, 18 Bronson Ross, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Roger Wilson, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Paddy Jackson, 23 Tommy Bowe

Referee: Ian Davies (WRU, 31st competition game)
Assistant Referees: Neil Paterson, Sam Grove-White (both SRU)
TMO: Jim Yuille (SRU)