Ulster succumbed to another defeat in the Pro 12, this time at the hands of a fairly mediocre Glasgow side with the Scots pulling away in the closing minutes to win 17 – 9 denying Ulster a losing bonus point in the process.
I’ll get this one out of the way fairly quickly and then we can all move on with our lives – at least the match facts won’t take long!
Both sides misfired throughout the first half producing little by way of excitement. Glasgow slotted over three penalties through Duncan Weir and Ulster slotted over one through Humphreys.
Andrew Trimble and Simon Danielli had a bit of a dash up the touch line, that ultimately came to nothing, and Nevin Spence tried to volley the ball into Danielli’s hands which made me chuckle, but that was about it. The lineouts were a bit of a shambles, with the normally reliable Andi Kyriacou having a bit of an off day, but in fairness the Glasgow jumpers were particularly competitive.
The teams turned round with Glasgow leading 9 – 3.
Ulster did start the second half with a bit more vim and vigour, though they did appear to be getting pushed about a bit too much off the ball, and the visitors set about their cunning game plan, of kicking the ball into the air and hoping Glasgow made a mistake, with a degree of confidence and commitment
Glasgow collapsed in front of such genius, gifting Ulster a couple of penalties that Humphreys slotted over to bring the score to 9 – 9, and Ulster looked to have the game in the bag spending the bulk of the second half in Glasgow territory.
Unfortunately, Glasgow woke up and strung together enough passes to constitute an actual move, shocking the Ulster players to such a degree that they could only stand and watch as Troy Nathan jogged over for the decisive score with ten minutes to go.
Glasgow dominated the remainder of the game with Weir adding a drop kick in the closing minutes to deny Ulster a losing bonus.
Thank god, the game was over!
Ulster: (15-9): Adam D’Arcy, Andrew Trimble, Darren Cave, Nevin Spence, Simon Danielli, Ian Humphreys, Paul Marshall. (1-8): Tom Court, Andi Kyriacou, Declan Fitzpatrick, Johann Muller (capt), Dan Tuohy, Robbie Diack, Willie Faloon, Pedrie Wannenburg (16-23): Nigel Brady, Paddy McAllister, Adam Macklin, Tim Barker, Mike McComish, Ian Porter, Paddy Jackson, Ian Whitten
Glasgow: (15-9): Stuart Hogg, David Lemi, Troy Nathan, Graeme Morrison, Federico Aramburu, Duncan Weir, Henry Pyrgos. (1-8): Jon Welsh, Pat MacArthur, Mike Cusack, Tom Ryder, Al Kellock (captain), Rob Harley, John Barclay, Ryan Wilson. (16-23): Finlay Gillies, Ryan Grant, Moray Low, Richie Gray, Chris Fusaro, Chris Cusiter, Alex Dunbar, Colin Shaw
|THE FRONT ROW REVIEW|
Where do you start with this one? I’d genuinely expected a comfortable win against a second string Glasgow side, a side without Cusiter, Low, Gray and Fusaro for much of the game! My four try bonus point win probably went out the window as the rain arrived but it should have been a comfortable enough night as despite their win, Glasgow played considerably less rugby than Ulster.
What the Scots did do was take their chances, scoring in nearly every visit into the Ulster half, whereas Ulster’s attack was as effective as a one legged man at an arse kicking contest! If they ever did have a handle on attacking play, that handle is well and truly broke! Watching Ulster these days is as about as appealing as being stuck in a lift with the Second Barrier Crew – and they’re only wearing thongs! :shudder:
There is/will be plenty of finger pointing at certain players but the problem lies a lot deeper than individual performances as Ulster have chosen a style of play that is dependant on the opponents making mistakes. It worked against Clermont thanks to a woeful display from the French, with Brock James a godsend, but came unstuck against Leicester and Glasgow, two teams we outplayed in terms of territory and possession.
What worries me is that when the likes of Pienaar, Afoa, Best, Ferris etc. return that we will start and edge enough games, through individual skill sets rather than through a change in tactics, to take the pressure off the coaches. I would like to think, but I’m not overly confident, that Ulster’s master plan is a bit more sophisticated than buying a few big names to win us games.
As for World Domination we’re like a team stuck in the Noughties, going backwards while other teams are moving forward. What worked five or ten years ago, where teams like Munster, Leicester, Wasps, England smothered other teams, isn’t going to cut it any more at higher levels. Unfortunately Ulster’s execution is so poor that it doesn’t work at the lower levels either!
So where to from here. Well I can book the Front Row Union Awards for 11th May, as there won’t be any play offs to worry about! As for the team, forwards and backs playing the game at pace and with precision would be a start – you’d be surprised at what this might lead to!