Superb Glasgow thrash Ulster to reach PRO14 final

Colin Newboult

Glasgow Warriors were too good for a poor Ulster side as they qualified for the PRO14 final after a dominant 50-20 triumph at Scotstoun on Friday.

The Warriors were excellent throughout but it was their superb first half performance which set the platform for the win when Tommy Seymour, Ali Price and Rob Harley all went over.

John Cooney provided the Northern Irish province’s sole response in the opening period with an effort off the tee, but the Belfast outfit were outclassed by the 2015 winners.

They struggled to make any indents and conceded four more times through Seymour, Kyle Steyn, Pete Horne and George Horne.

It was a convincing win for the Conference A leaders, who erased memories of their shoddy defeat at the same stage last year, and will now face either Leinster or Munster at Celtic Park.

For the second successive campaign Dave Rennie’s men finished top of their section, earning a straight passage through to the semi-finals.

In 2018, they were stunned by the Scarlets, going down 28-13 following a poor display, but they were determined not to let that happen again.

Glasgow began impressively, immediately sending the visitors into reverse by breaking through the heart of the opposition rearguard, before a looping Adam Hastings pass was collected and finished by Seymour.

The fly-half has sometimes been criticised for his inability to control the big games but he, alongside Price, were doing an excellent job of keeping Ulster on the back foot.

As much as the Northern Irishmen tried, they were being penned back by the hosts and it was no surprise to see Glasgow touch down for the second time as their scrum-half scampered over.

Dan McFarland’s charges did eventually get on the scoreboard via Cooney’s penalty but Hastings responded for the Warriors with one of his own before they effectively put the game out of the away team’s reach at the interval.

Steyn’s excellent angle made the initial incursion and several of the forwards then attempted to barge their way across the whitewash, but it was Harley that was the man to eventually score and open up a 21-point buffer.

McFarland needed a response from his side but it failed to materialise as the Warriors controlled matters. Although it took them longer to get going than in the first half, the Scots were soon rewarded for their excellence with two quick-fire tries.

Firstly, Seymour crossed the whitewash, touching down after a superb backline move, before Stuart Hogg, Ryan Wilson and Steyn combined for the latter to go over.

Marcell Coetzee, Rob Herring and Michael Lowry did get three consolation tries for Ulster but Glasgow added to their pain when the Horne brothers combined for Pete to touch down.

George also got on the board after he latched onto Hastings’ break and pass, which completed a superb evening for Rennie’s men.

The scorers:

For Glasgow:
Tries: Seymour 2, Price, Harley, Steyn, P Horne, G Horne
Cons: Hastings 6
Pen: Hastings

For Ulster:
Tries: Coetzee, Herring, Lowry
Con: Burns
Pen: Cooney

Glasgow: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Kyle Steyn, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Ali Price, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Callum Gibbins (c), 6 Rob Harley, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Scott Cummings, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Jamie Bhatti
Replacements: 16 Grant Stewart, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 D’Arcy Rae, 19 Ryan Wilson, 20 Tom Gordon, 21 George Horne, 22 Pete Horne, 23 Huw Jones

Ulster: 15 Michael Lowry, 14 Louis Ludik, 13 Luke Marshall, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Billy Burns, 9 John Cooney, 8 Marcell Coetzee, 7 Jordi Murphy, 6 Nick Timoney, 5 Kieran Treadwell, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Ross Kane, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Eric O’Sullivan
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Andy Warwick, 18 Tom O’Toole, 19 Alan O’Connor, 20 Sean Reidy, 21 Dave Shanahan, 22 Angus Kernohan, 23 Darren Cave

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), George Clancy (Ireland)
Television match official: Olly Hodges (Ireland)