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Kitshoff's Ulster debut ends in defeat

MATCH REPORT: Glasgow made it five wins from six to go top of the United Rugby Championship table after they beat Ulster 33-20 in their Round Six encounter on Saturday.

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Ulster raced into a commanding lead after just 11 minutes but the Warriors responded with five tries to secure a bonus-point victory at Scotstoun.

The visitors dominated the opening exchanges and took a sixth-minute lead from a line-out after sending a penalty to touch on the left. The initial drive on the line was held up, but a second effort saw hooker Tom Stewart peel off the right-hand side and force his way over.

The visitors soon doubled their lead, again off the back of a penalty to touch, with John Cooney finishing from close range after his pack had rumbled close. The scrumhalf added his second conversion to make it 14-0.

Nathan Doak, a late addition to the Ulster bench, came on midway through the first half for a head injury assessment to Billy Burns, which the starting No.10 went on to fail.

The Warriors had barely got out of their own half up to that point, but slowly increased the pressure and eventually opened their account.

They sent a penalty to touch around 15 metres out, and after play came back infield, scrumhalf Sean Kennedy celebrated his first home start for more than a decade by finishing off from close range. Tom Jordan converted the first of his four successful kicks.

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Glasgow pressed hard for a second try as half-time approached, and they eventually got it in time added on.

A line-out was once more the launchpad, and hooker George Turner finished off at the back of the maul before Jordan’s conversion made it 14-14 at the break.

World Cup winner Steven Kitshoff came on for his Ulster debut 10 minutes into the second half, but before the prop could get involved the Warriors took the lead when Josh McKay found Kyle Rowe in just enough space for him to score in the left corner.

Jordan’s conversion attempt went wide as the visitors’ Kieran Treadwell was sent to the sin bin for an offence in the build-up.

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A Cooney penalty narrowed the gap to two points, but just before the hour mark Johnny Matthews came off the bench and got on the end of a well-worked passing move to secure the bonus-point score for the home side.

Jordan’s conversion made it a nine-point lead, and although a Doak penalty soon cut it to six with quarter of an hour to play, Matthews then got his second try after sustained pressure and Jordan added the extras.

Man of the match: Glasgow Warriors centre Sione Tuipulotu was instrumental in his team’s recovery from an early 14-0 deficit. He injected some impetus into the team’s attack and forced an initially dominant Ulster on to the back foot for much of the contest, playing a leading role in the pressure which eventually turned into tries.

The scorers:

For Glasgow:
Tries: Kennedy, Turner, Rowe, Matthews 2
Cons: Jordan 2

For Ulster:
Tries: Stewart, Cooney
Cons: Cooney 2
Pens: Cooney, Doak

Yellow card: Kieran Treadwell (Ulster, 50′)

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Josh McKay, 14 Sebastian Cancelliere, 13 Sione Tuipuluto, 12 Stafford McDowall (captain), 11 Kyle Rowe, 10 Tom Jordan, 9 Sean Kennedy, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Rory Darge, 6 Matt Fagerson, 5 Scott Cummings, 4 Greg Peterson, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 George Turner, 1 Jamie Bhatti.
Replacements: 16 Johnny Matthews, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Lucio Sordoni, 19 Richie Gray, 20 Sintu Manjezi, 21 Sione Vailanu, 22 Ben Afshar, 23 Duncan Weir.

Ulster: 15 Will Addison, 14 Rob Baloucoune, 13 James Hume, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Billy Burns, 9 John Cooney, 8 James McNabney, 7 Reuben Crothers, 6 Harry Sheridan, 5 Iain Henderson (captain), 4 Kieran Treadwell, 3 Tom O’Toole, 2 Tom Stewart, 1 Eric O’Sullivan.
Replacements: 16 Zac Solomon, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Marty Moore, 19 Alan O’Connor, 20 Matty Rea, 21 Dave Shanahan, 22 Jake Flannery, 23 Ben Moxham.

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
Assistant referees: Ru Campbell (Scotland), Jonny Perriam (Scotland)
TMO: Wayne Davies (Wales)

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