Glasgow and Edinburgh undone by the Irish

Galsgow Warriors and Edinburgh Rugby succumbed to Irish opposition in the Guinness PRO12 at the weekend, with Glasgow going down 22-17 to Ulster at Scotstoun, before Edinburgh suffered a 28-14 defeat to Munster at Thomond Park.

Glasgow Warriors 22-17 Ulster

Glasgow Warriors were narrowly edged out by Ulster under the Friday night floodlights, as the latest close-fought encounter between the two sides saw the visitors claim a 22-17 victory.

Despite a man-of-the-match performance from the returning Finn Russell, Paddy Jackson’s try with 15 minutes remaining was enough to secure the win for the Irish side, with Glasgow having to settle for a losing bonus point in front of a sold-out Scotstoun.

The visitors enjoyed the best of the early play, and were rewarded with the first points of the game after five minutes. After squandering an earlier chance to open his account, Jackson was successful with a penalty from 45 metres to give his side the lead.

It was the side from Belfast that were to register the opening try after 15 minutes however. A break from Charles Piutau took the Ulstermen to the Glasgow 22, before the ball was spun wide to allow Darren Cave to cross in the corner. Jackson was unable to add the conversion from out wide, leaving the score at 8-0 to the visitors.

The Warriors responded immediately. Having elected to kick to the corner from a penalty, Glasgow recycled the ball through the phases, with Gordon Reid the man to apply the finishing touch with an opportunistic pick and go try from close to the line. Finn Russell converted, and the gap was reduced to just a point.

The home side were forced into a change after half an hour, with Tjiuee Uanivi’s departure meaning a competitive debut for BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy player Sam Thomson.

Just minutes later, Ulster were denied by the TMO for the second time in the half, with Rob Herring’s effort ruled out for obstruction in the build-up.

There was to be another try before the break, however. Leonardo Sarto was adjudged to have tackled Piutau without the use of his arms, with the referee showing the Italian winger the yellow card and awarding Ulster a penalty try. Jackson’s simple conversion left the score to 15-7 going into half-time.

With the rain now falling consistently, both sides were struggling to keep hold of the ball. Russell was first to trouble the scoreboard in the second half, as the fly-half slotted a penalty from 40 metres after Ulster were deemed to be offside.

The home side were growing into the half, and were rewarded with their second try. A scorching break by replacement Rory Hughes set up field position, before Stuart Hogg offloaded out of the tackle to allow Tommy Seymour to score his seventh try of the season.

Russell’s excellent conversion from the touchline gave Glasgow the lead for the first time in the game, as he took the score to 17-15.

This time, though, it was the visitors who found the immediate response. Turnover ball in midfield allowed Louis Ludik to break, with the ball kept alive well in the wet conditions before Jackson slid over the line. With the conversion of his own try, Jackson made it 22-17 in Ulster’s favour.

With just ten minutes remaining, Matt Fagerson was introduced, with the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy prospect replacing Ryan Wilson for his competitive debut.

The Warriors once again went on the attack, looking for the try that would level the scores, continually pressurising the Ulster defence.

However, the elusive try was not to be, as the visitors’ defensive line held firm to ensure they return to Belfast with their unbeaten run this season still intact. Gregor Townsend’s men have to settle for a losing bonus point, as attentions now turn to the trip to Newport in a week’s time.

Munster 28-14 Edinburgh Rugby

Edinburgh were unable to overcome Munster in a hard-fought contest at Thomond Park, with the home side outscoring the visitors four tries to two and coming out on top with a 28-14 victory.

The visitors mounted a late comeback, building on their bright start, yet the 21-point deficit opened up by the Munster-men on 56 minutes – when Edinburgh were down to 14-men for the second-time in the game proved too great for Alan Solomons’ side to overcome.

Centre Chris Dean opened the scoring with an opportunistic try just after 20 minutes, as he scooped up a loose ball from the ruck and paced in from 50 metres to put Edinburgh ahead. Duncan Weir added the extras from wide our to extend the visitors’ lead (0-7).

Munster were quick to react with a try of their own when scrum-half Conor Murray picked the ball from the base off a dominant scrum to score. Bleyendaal made amends for his earlier penalty miss as he hit the target to tie the scores (7-7).

For the first time in the game the home side took the lead on 37 minutes with Murray once again claiming the score as he pounced on a loose Edinburgh ball for the try. Bleyendaal’s conversion took the home side into the break with a 14-7 lead.

Munster carried their momentum into the second period, with replacement back-row Conor Oliver racing down the wing to touch down in the corner, and Bleyendaal hitting the target with the conversion to widen the gap (21-7). 

Replacment prop Allan Dell was sent to the sin-bin with following repeat Edinburgh offence at the scrum set-piece, and Munster immediately took advantage of their extra man with a 56th minute try from Dave O’Callaghan following a disallowed try five minutes previous.

The conversion, Bleyendaal’s fourth of the night, widened the gap to 21 points in favour of the home side (7-28).

Edinburgh rallied with the game coming to a close adding their second try of the night through replacement John Hardie, who battled his way through to the defence to cross the whitewash. In Weir’s absence, his replacement, Blair Kinghorn, added the extras in the last scoring act of the game (28-14).