Glasgow will have the benefit of home advantage at Celtic Park after romping past Ulster 50-20 to claim a place in the Guinness PRO14 final. Tommy Seymour’s double plus tries from Ali Price, Rob Harley, Kyle Steyn and both Horne brothers mean Warriors will have the chance to back up their 2015 title within their own city limits.
Either Leinster or Munster await Dave Rennie’s men at Parkhead on May 25 but there will be no fairytale farewell for Ulster and Ireland skipper Rory Best, who now only has this year’s World Cup to look forward to before hanging up his boots. The visitors did manage three scores through Marcell Coetzee, Rob Herring and Mike Lowry but it was a painful return for former Warriors coach Dan McFarland.
The game also marked Scotland star Stuart Hogg’s final run-out at Scotstoun before he moves to Exeter this summer but he is now eyeing up the perfect farewell gift in a week’s time. Twelve months on from losing at home to Scarlets at the same stage of the competition, Glasgow knew the advantage of staging the semi-final was not a guarantee for success. But they made the most of the frenzied atmosphere generated by the sell-out 10,000 crowd as they set about Ulster with a frightening intensity.
Steyn set the tone for Warriors as he spiked Ulster’s lines with a 40-yard charge within seconds of kick-off. Warriors kept their foot on the gas and grabbed a third-minute opener when Adam Hastings floated a perfect pass out for Seymour, who finished with style.
Glasgow chose to test the visitors’ lineout defence in the 18th minute and were delighted to find they were not watertight. Price collected off the base and, spotting only heavy-footed lock Iain Henderson in his way, scampered in down the short side for the score.
WE’RE IN THE FINAL!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/PkVnPAorOd
— Glasgow Warriors (@GlasgowWarriors) May 17, 2019
The Irishmen upped the ante in response but were rebuffed by some unshakeable defending from Rennie’s side, who nudged further ahead with a Hastings penalty on 29 minutes.
John Cooney got Ulster off the mark with a kick of his own a moment later but Glasgow were celebrating again just before the break as they applied forward pressure from a scrum, with Harley barging past Cooney from a yard out. Hastings’ third conversion put them the home side 21 ahead at the break and the gap became insurmountable 15 minutes into the second period.
"We were second best in everything.
"But the way they played, I am not sure our best game would have been good enough anyway."
— eir Sport (@eirSport) May 17, 2019
Seymour’s charge down on Jacob Stockdale’s kick pinned Ulster down inside their own 22 as Glasgow again moved up the gears. Sam Johnson drove on before popping off to Hogg who slotted in Seymour for his second. The party was truly under way now and Warriors were in exhibition mode as they ran in number five two minutes later.
Hastings lobbed the ball forward as Hogg broke the line. He fed to Ryan Wilson who exchanged passes back and fourth with Steyn before the South African centre decided enough was enough and dotted down. Coetzee grabbed a consolation try on the hour mark after nice play by Dave Shanahan just before the retiring Best brought the curtain down on his Ulster career as he made way for Rob Herring.
63' | Rory Best leaves the field to a standing ovation from both sets of fans ?
— Ulster Rugby (@UlsterRugby) May 17, 2019
There may not have been a club trophy to go with his 2006 Celtic League success, but the British and Irish Lion’s contribution to the game was marked by the appreciative Scotstoun faithful rising to afford him a standing ovation.
Their team, however, refused to show the same mercy and got in again on 68 minutes as George Horne kicked through for brother Pete to score. Ulster’s Herring and Lowry crossed for two more late scores either side of George Horne’s touchdown as Glasgow cruised through.
– Press Association
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