Saturday 12 January 2013

Ulster vs Glasgow

Match reaction:

That was one of the best 20/30 minutes I have seen from a side.

Right up until Pienaar missed his first penalty, all of the momentum was with Ulster. They played the conditions brilliantly with effective kicks and forcing mistakes from the Glasgow players. After 10 minutes I was confident they would get the bonus point. How they only got one try in the first half an hour I'll never know.

Glasgow didn't do themselves any favours by not calling for the mark on a number of occasions, one of which lead to Murchie carrying the ball out of touch in his own 22 from fielding another high ball.

Although it lead to Nick Williams's first try, I didn't think Darren Cave kicked well. I mean, it was the right idea, the space was there, but the execution wasn't brilliant, I would have tried to get more width and a little less deep to encourage the chase.

In the end though, they took their foot off the gas, and that cost them the bonus point. Those ten-twenty minutes at the start of the second half killed them, but I was really impressed with how Pienaar controlled the game. From an Irish perspective, while Jackson learns a lot from playing outside Pienaar, how is he meant to learn to influence games if Pienaar does it so effortlessly?

On a brighter note, Marshall seems to be returning to form and Ulster's fortune's picked up considerably when he came on. And Tom Court had a monster showing in the scrum. Makes a huge difference from the annihalation in Twickenham only 9 months ago. Suspicions of illegal scrummaging, but given the difference in fortunes, and my being Irish, I'm willing to let it go.

Upshot of it, Ulster are through, now to get as high a spot as possible. Although I almost think 3rd might be better to avoid the possibility of Leinster in the quarters, but that's too much for now.

From a Lions point of view,

Prygos caught my eye at scrumhalf, but he needs to have faster passes and he takes too many steps on a few too many occasions.

Having been a big fan of Sean Maitland when he was a Crusader, he seemed lost last night, and Gilroy performed well opposite him. However he was unlucky that the penalty was given against him when they challenged for a high ball. I thought Gilroy's feet were very close to Maitland's chest.

Ali Kellock was a nuisance in the line-out and may sneak into the reckoning.

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