Glasgow Disappointing At Ravenhill

Ulster 33, Glasgow 6Glasgow fell to a disappointing defeat at Ravenhill this evening. The enthusiasm and enjoyment of last week's Hughenden win against Cardiff were eclipsed by the stark reality of the long-haul competition that is the Celtic League.It was a match that both teams - winners as well as losers - will wish to forget. Ulster scored three tries on the night, but the bland details of the scoreline could not mask their own low-key performance in victory.Glasgow failed for three key reasons. They lost far too much lineout ball on their own throw, their scrummage creaked too much to be safe at this level, and they squandered in turnovers much of what little possession they had.It was just as well that Glasgow's defensive rugby stood up when so much else was insecure. That was the one consistently positive factor of the Glasgow game.Glasgow won the toss and, understandably, elected to play with the stiff breeze on their backs. However, Ulster's answer - ironically and frustratingly - was to score two of their three tries before the interval, when they led 17-6.As early as the sixth minute, Ulster exploited a turnover on a tackle on Graeme Morrison by making a try for Rowan Frost. The lead-up included a blatant forward pass, but after six minutes the home team were seven points up as Adam Larkin added the conversion on his way to scoring 18 points in the match.Before and after that try Larkin missed a penalty goal, and soon after the second of those the match took another twist as the referee, Nigel Whitehouse, retired with a thigh strain. He was replaced by an Ulster official, David Keane.Without appearing to criticise the subsequent refereeing, an obvious question has to be posed. Can the Celtic League system not afford to have a complete team of three neutral match officials? After all, that is what matches have in the English premiership, a competition that the Scottish-Welsh-Irish league is meant to rival!It was then that Glasgow had their best - however brief - phase of the match. Roland Reid and Rory Kerr exploited a turnover to test Ulster. Then Cammy Mather's lineout steal set up Joe Naufahu, Kerr, and Mather himself to lay the ground for Stuart Moffat to drop a goal from more than 35 metres.Larkin and Calvin Howarth exchanged penalty goals before the Ulster forwards drove in to the left corner for a Tony McWhirter try. Larkin converted for Ulster's 11-point interval lead.Throughout the second half the flow was mainly against Glasgow as Larkin added three more penalty goals. However, the Glasgow defence held up until, with less than 10 minutes left, Shane Stewart found space for Ulster's third try.It was only then, with the game well and truly gone, that replacement Sean Lamont broke out in a rousing counter-attack. Moffat, however, was stifled in the Ulster 22.Ulster - Bryn Cunningham; James Topping, Ryan Constable, Shane Stewart, Scott Young; Adam Larkin, Kieran Campbell; Ronan McCormack, Matt Sexton, Rod Moore, Matt Mustchin, Rowan Frost, Andy Ward (captain), Neil McMillan, Tony McWhirter. Substitute - Seamus Mallon for Constable (23 minutes).Tries, Frost, McWhirter, Stewart; conversions, Larkin (3); penalty goals, Larkin (4).Glasgow - Stuart Moffat; Jon Steel, Graeme Morrison, Joe Naufahu, Rory Kerr; Calvin Howarth, Kenny Sinclair; Euan Murray, Simon Gunn, Matthew Proudfoot, Andy Hall, Nathan Ross, Cameron Mather (captain), Donnie Macfadyen, Roland Reid. Substitutes - Alan Bulloch for Naufahu (32), Sean Lamont for Kerr (39), Lee Harrison for Proudfoot (43), Scott Lawson for Gunn (60), Graeme Beveridge for Sinclair (66).Penalty goal, Howarth; drop goal, Moffat.Referee - Nigel Whitehouse (Wales), replaced by David Keane (Ulster) after 17 minutes.Report by Bill McMurtrieUlster 33, Glasgow 6Glasgow fell to a disappointing defeat at Ravenhill this evening. The enthusiasm and enjoyment of last week's Hughenden win against Cardiff were eclipsed by the stark reality of the long-haul competition that is the Celtic League.It was a match that both teams - winners as well as losers - will wish to forget. Ulster scored three tries on the night, but the bland details of the scoreline could not mask their own low-key performance in victory.Glasgow failed for three key reasons. They lost far too much lineout ball on their own throw, their scrummage creaked too much to be safe at this level, and they squandered in turnovers much of what little possession they had.It was just as well that Glasgow's defensive rugby stood up when so much else was insecure. That was the one consistently positive factor of the Glasgow game.Glasgow won the toss and, understandably, elected to play with the stiff breeze on their backs. However, Ulster's answer - ironically and frustratingly - was to score two of their three tries before the interval, when they led 17-6.As early as the sixth minute, Ulster exploited a turnover on a tackle on Graeme Morrison by making a try for Rowan Frost. The lead-up included a blatant forward pass, but after six minutes the home team were seven points up as Adam Larkin added the conversion on his way to scoring 18 points in the match.Before and after that try Larkin missed a penalty goal, and soon after the second of those the match took another twist as the referee, Nigel Whitehouse, retired with a thigh strain. He was replaced by an Ulster official, David Keane.Without appearing to criticise the subsequent refereeing, an obvious question has to be posed. Can the Celtic League system not afford to have a complete team of three neutral match officials? After all, that is what matches have in the English premiership, a competition that the Scottish-Welsh-Irish league is meant to rival!It was then that Glasgow had their best - however brief - phase of the match. Roland Reid and Rory Kerr exploited a turnover to test Ulster. Then Cammy Mather's lineout steal set up Joe Naufahu, Kerr, and Mather himself to lay the ground for Stuart Moffat to drop a goal from more than 35 metres.Larkin and Calvin Howarth exchanged penalty goals before the Ulster forwards drove in to the left corner for a Tony McWhirter try. Larkin converted for Ulster's 11-point interval lead.Throughout the second half the flow was mainly against Glasgow as Larkin added three more penalty goals. However, the Glasgow defence held up until, with less than 10 minutes left, Shane Stewart found space for Ulster's third try.It was only then, with the game well and truly gone, that replacement Sean Lamont broke out in a rousing counter-attack. Moffat, however, was stifled in the Ulster 22.Ulster - Bryn Cunningham; James Topping, Ryan Constable, Shane Stewart, Scott Young; Adam Larkin, Kieran Campbell; Ronan McCormack, Matt Sexton, Rod Moore, Matt Mustchin, Rowan Frost, Andy Ward (captain), Neil McMillan, Tony McWhirter. Substitute - Seamus Mallon for Constable (23 minutes).Tries, Frost, McWhirter, Stewart; conversions, Larkin (3); penalty goals, Larkin (4).Glasgow - Stuart Moffat; Jon Steel, Graeme Morrison, Joe Naufahu, Rory Kerr; Calvin Howarth, Kenny Sinclair; Euan Murray, Simon Gunn, Matthew Proudfoot, Andy Hall, Nathan Ross, Cameron Mather (captain), Donnie Macfadyen, Roland Reid. Substitutes - Alan Bulloch for Naufahu (32), Sean Lamont for Kerr (39), Lee Harrison for Proudfoot (43), Scott Lawson for Gunn (60), Graeme Beveridge for Sinclair (66).Penalty goal, Howarth; drop goal, Moffat.Referee - Nigel Whitehouse (Wales), replaced by David Keane (Ulster) after 17 minutes.Report by Bill McMurtrie