Rugby Union

Pro14 semi-final: Glasgow Warriors 50-20 Ulster

Glasgow Warriors were in irresistible form as they scored seven tries to dismiss Ulster and book a place in next Saturday’s Pro14 final at Celtic Park.

Warriors scored with their first attack through Tommy Seymour, and Ali Price and Rob Harley added further scores.

Seymour, Kyle Steyn, and both Peter and George Horne continued the rout after the break.

Marcell Coetzee, Rob Herring and Michael Lowry all crossed for Ulster but it was scant consolation.

Dave Rennie’s side will play either Leinster or Munster – who face each other on Saturday – in next weekend’s final in Glasgow.

  • Reaction & how it happened

‘So pretty you could hang it on a wall’

In front of a packed and raucous Scotstoun, Glasgow had the blistering start that they could have imagined only in their dreams. This was fantasy rugby, a merciless drubbing, a win so pretty you could put a frame around it and hang it on a wall.

When the Warriors begin well in their own place then they tend to motor on and win with panache. This was Glasgow at their most devastating. They didn’t just make the final, they powered their way into it. It was a nightmarish end to Rory Best’s 15-year career with Ulster. The captain deserved to go out on a higher note than this.

It was Steyn who got Glasgow on the front foot from the get-go, a searing break downfield giving Glasgow the field position which eventually brought the opening try.

Ulster were holding them out until Hastings unlocked things with a floated pass over the top to Seymour. The wing, sharp as a tack all night, had work to do, but had the raw power to do it. Against his former club, Seymour had set Glasgow on their merry way.

Hastings’ excellent conversion made it seven and soon it would be 14. Harley won a key turnover in midfield, Stuart Hogg banged the penalty into Ulster’s 22 and, after a rumble, Price whipped round the short side. DTH van der Merwe’s off-the-ball run took Kieran Treadwell away and Price did the rest, brushing away Iain Henderson to score.

Again, Hastings knocked over a brilliant conversion. With such a deficit so early in the game, Ulster had to make hay with the chances they created. They couldn’t. Just after the first quarter they eventually engineered some territory, a lineout five metres from the Glasgow line the platform.

Then they lost the lineout – and three more points soon after. At 17-0 with less than half an hour on the clock the semi-final was all but done already. John Cooney put over a penalty, but that crumb of optimism was gobbled up when Harley drove over from close range just before the break. The gap was now an insurmountable 21 points.

‘Glasgow have all sorts of momentum’

Glasgow were in no mood to take their foot off Ulster’s throat. Another lost lineout – in their defeat to Glasgow in April, Ulster lost seven of their own throws – gave the home team the chance to turn the screw again.

Sam Johnson and Hogg put Seymour over for his second. Ulster’s defence was a mess, Jacob Stockdale selling himself and opening up a gap that was like an open invite to a rampant Glasgow.

Tries continued to fall from the sky. Steyn and substitute Ryan Wilson galloped away, playing one-twos and Steyn went through some more soft Ulster defence. Coetzee narrowed the gap, but Glasgow merely drove on again.

The Horne boys took over, George and Pete coming on to the field and causing havoc. George chipped ahead delicately and beautifully for his older brother for the Glasgow try that broke the 40-point mark.

Herring replied but then lethal scrum-half George scored a try of his own after scything work from Hastings. The conversion brought up the half century. Extraordinary.

Lowry added one at the end, but hardly anybody at Scotstoun noticed. They were too busy eulogising their team at the time. Glasgow have all sorts of momentum, all sorts of power and pace and try-scoring threat. They also have a final just down the road.

Hogg said his goodbyes to Scotstoun but he’s got one more game to go – and it’ll be one of his biggest in the jersey he was worn for close to a decade.

Glasgow Warriors: Hogg; Seymour, Steyn, Johnson, Van der Merwe; Hastings, Price; Bhatti, Brown, Z Fagerson, Cummings, Gray, Harley, Gibbins, M Fagerson.

Replacements: Stewart, Kebble, Rae, Wilson, Gordon, G Horne, P Horne, H Jones.

Ulster: Lowry; Stockdale, Marshall, McCloskey, Ludik; Burns, Cooney; O’Sullivan, Best, Kane, Henderson, Treadwell, Timoney, Murphy, Coetzee.

Replacements: Herring, Warwick, O’Toole, O’Connor, Reidy, Shanahan, Kernohan, Cave.

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