PRO14 MONDAY WRAP: Ulster maintained their unbeaten start to the Pro14 season with a scintillating six-try 40-15 victory over Glasgow Warriors at Kingspan Stadium.
Meanwhile, Edinburgh overcame both the fog and Cardiff Blues to notch their second win of the young Pro14 season.
Ulster 40-15 Glasgow Warriors
The hosts had the four-try bonus point wrapped up by half-time as John Andrew, Marcell Coetzee, Sam Carter and John Cooney all touched down, with Sean Reidy and Matt Faddes going over after the break.
Glasgow Warriors played better than the final 40-15 scoreline might suggest – with TJ Ioane and Grant Stewart scoring their tries – but their poor start to the campaign continued, as they’ve notched just one victory in the first five rounds.
Ulster are imperious at the Kingspan, having now won their last 17 home games since drawing with Benetton in January 2019, and kept up the pressure on Leinster at the top of Conference A.
Glasgow got off to the perfect start as brilliant phase play and control from the visitors eventually led to Ioane driving over the whitewash to get his first score for the club.
Your Guinness Player of the Match – @sean_reidy7 👏
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) November 9, 2020
But Ulster hit back on 13 minutes with an inexorable driving maul which ended with hooker John Andrew rumbling over the line.
Tom Gordon won a breakdown penalty for Warriors midway through the first half, which Pete Horne duly slotted between the posts, but Ulster’s talisman Coetzee did what he does best on 25 minutes as when Andrew’s powerful carry took them close to the line and the No.8 crashed under the posts.
Cooney’s second conversion stretched the lead to 14-10 but the entertaining end-to-end encounter continued in kind with a Ioane line break that saw him hauled down from behind just metres short of the line.
On the half-hour mark, Glasgow looked to have gone over thanks to Sean Kennedy’s quick thinking from a tap-and-go penalty but Andrew made a brilliant try-saving tackle and Michael Lowry poached the turnover.
That proved decisive as Ulster added two quick-fire tries before the break, with Carter ending a long spell in the 22 by barging his way across the line on 36 minutes and Cooney darting over from the base of a ruck on the stroke of half-time for the bonus-point score.
The second of those came after Niko Matawalu was sent to the sin-bin for a deliberate knock-on and, trailing 28-10 heading into the second 40, things looked bleak for Warriors.
And they got worse with a brilliant fifth Ulster try on 50 minutes as Lowry produced a brilliant pass to Andrew, who fed the ball to Reidy to go over in the corner.
Try number six followed soon after when Faddes kicked the loose ball upfield following a crunching Coetzee tackle and collected his own kick to score, although Warriors did get a second try before the game was out when Stewart crossed the whitewash.
Tries: Andrew, Coetzee, Carter, Cooney, Reidy, Faddes
Cons: Cooney 5
For Glasgow Warriors:
Tries: Ioane, Stewart
Ulster: 15 Michael Lowry, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 Luke Marshall, 12 Stewart Moore, 11 Matt Faddes, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 John Cooney, 8 Marcell Coetzee, 7 Sean Reidy, 6 Matty Rea, 5 Sam Carter (captain), 4 Kieran Treadwell, 3 Marty Moore, 2 John Andrew, 1 Jack McGrath
Replacements: 16 Adam McBurney, 17 Eric O’Sullivan, 18 Gareth Milasinovich, 19 Alan O’Connor, 20 Marcus Rea, 21 David Shanahan, 22 Bill Johnston, 23 Ethan McIlroy
Glasgow Warriors: 15 Glenn Bryce, 14 Ratu Tagive, 13 Robbie Fergusson, 12 Stafford McDowall, 11 Niko Matawalu, 10 Pete Horne, 9 Jamie Dobie, 8 TJ Ioane, 7 Tom Gordon, 6 Ryan Wilson (captain), 5 Kiran McDonald, 4 Rob Harley, 3 Enrique Pieretto, 2 Grant Stewart, 1 Aki Seiuli
Replacements: 16 Johnny Matthews, 17 Alex Allan, 18 D’arcy Rae, 19 Lewis Bean, 20 Hamish Bain, 21 Fotu Lokotui, 22 Sean Kennedy, 23 Brandon Thomson
Referee: Nigel Owens
Assistant Referees: Frank Murphy, Chris Busby
TMO: Joy Neville
Edinburgh 18-0 Cardiff Blues
Having lost their opening three games of the campaign, Edinburgh followed up last week’s scratchy 6-3 victory over Scarlets with another win thanks to tries from debutant Lee-Roy Atalifo and fellow front-rower Dave Cherry.
Conditions deteriorated as the match wore on, with fog descending on Murrayfield and making visibility almost impossible in the second half, but the Scots still successfully ended a four-game home losing streak.
Blues went close to scoring on a number of occasions but their road woes continued, with a 16-6 success against Zebre on the opening day, still their only away win of 2020.
An early Nathan Chamberlain penalty put Edinburgh in front and while they largely dominated possession, it took until 24 minutes to extend that advantage.
Patient build-up play saw them camped in the Blues 22 and after numerous surges from the forwards, debutant prop Atalifo burrowed into the foot of the posts from close-range, with Chamberlain’s conversion making it 10-0.
That try inspired the Blues to their first sustained spell of possession, which ended with a Jason Tovey penalty hitting the post, and while they pushed forward again just before half-time, a knock-on at the crucial moment meant they trailed by ten points at the break.
As the mist and fog descended on Murrayfield during the second half, Edinburgh produced a brave defensive stand on their own try-line to deny the visitors before adding a second try themselves on 54 minutes.
A well-executed lineout set up the driving maul and Cherry guided the ball over the whitewash in the corner to extend the lead to 15-0.
Some brilliant Blues defence stopped the deficit being increased and Hallam Amos looked to set to break their duck but was stopped just short.
And Chamberlain completed the scoring right on the final whistle by slotting another penalty, as the contest ended 18-0.
Tries: Atalifo, Cherry
Pens: Chamberlain 2
For Cardiff Blues: None
Edinburgh: 15 Jack Blain, 14 Eroni Sau, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Chris Dean, 11 Jamie Farndale, 10 Nathan Chamberlain, 9 Henry Pyrgos (captain), 8 Ally Miller, 7 Luke Crosbie, 6 Magnus Bradbury, 5 Jamie Hodgson, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Lee-Roy Atalifo, 2 David Cherry, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Mike Willemse, 17 Sam Grahamslaw, 18 Dan Gamble, 19 Marshall Sykes, 20 Connor Boyle, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Charlie Shiel, 23 James Johnstone
Cardiff Blues: 15 Hallam Amos, 14 Aled Summerhill, 13 Garyn Smith, 12 Max Llewellyn, 11 Owen Lane, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Lewis Jones, 8 Will Boyde, 7 Olly Robinson, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 Rory Thornton, 4 James Ratti, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Kristian Dacey (captain), 1 Brad Thyer
Replacements: 16 Ethan Lewis, 17 Corey Domachowski, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Ben Murphy, 20 Sam Moore, 21 Jamie Hill, 22 Ben Thomas, 23 Matthew Morgan
Referee: Andrew Brace
Assistant Referees: Hollie Davidson, Ian Kenny
TMO: Sam Grove-White