Weekend round-up: Nicol on point while Ospreys edge Edinburgh

Luke Baker
16 September 2019

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Adam Nicol was the hero as his late score handed Glasgow Warriors a 36-33 victory over Ulster in a thriller at Scotstoun, while Ospreys overcame 22-21 Edinburgh in an absorbing round of pre-season action.

A 78th-minute penalty from Cai Evans was enough to secure the points for Allen Clarke’s side at BT Murrayfield, but the most eye-catching contest took place in Glasgow as ten tries were scored in a back-and-forth encounter.

It was the visitors who took the lead through John Cooney after just two minutes, with a powerful Ulster maul proving too much for Glasgow to handle as the hooker was driven over.

And they extended their advantage soon after, when Rob Lyttle gathered his own grubber to touch down on 17 minutes.

But that try appeared to spark the Warriors into life, soon touching down several of their own through a penalty try, Rory Hughes and Johnny Matthews to gain a foothold.

A further penalty try followed by a Glenn Bryce effort then gave the home side a 29-26 lead with half an hour to play, but a penalty try for Ulster soon saw the visitors regain their advantage.

The game evolved into an error-strewn yet pulsating encounter, with Bryce scoring again for the Warriors before Ulster hit back once again through a converted James Hume effort on 70 minutes.

But along came Nicol at the 11th hour, bundled over by a rolling maul to give Glasgow momentum going into the imminent Guinness PRO14 season.

ENDING ON A CAI

At BT Murrayfield it was an Evans penalty that broke Edinburgh hearts after tries from Sam Parry, Luke Morgan and Scott Otten set up an enthralling climax in the Scottish capital.

Jamie Farndale and a Matt Scott double had initially given Richard Cockerill’s team a healthy 21-12 lead, but a late rally from the visitors proved too much for their tiring defence to handle.

Otten went over in the corner after a driving Ospreys maul to set up a thrilling finale at 21-19, before 20-year-old Evans held his nerve to coolly slot the winning penalty two minutes from time.

Two further Guinness PRO14 teams in action were Dragons and Scarlets, in a friendly preceded by both clubs’ ‘A’ teams competing in the Celtic Cup.

And while it was Scarlets who trumped the hosts 40-35 in the initial reserve team fixture, Dragons’ first-teamers were able to make amends for their understudies’ limitations to topple Brad Mooar’s travelling side.

Tries from Ashton Hewitt, Sam Davies, Will Talbot-Davies and an Owen Jenkins double were enough to wrap up a comprehensive 34-17 victory for the home side in Wales.

ITALIAN DERBY

Benetton also enjoyed a promising performance in their warm-up campaign, beating fellow Guinness PRO14 outfit Zebre 19-12 in their first of two pre-season friendlies between the sides in Italy.

It wasn’t all plain sailing for the hosts but a late barrage of pressure from Kieran Crowley’s side was enough to give Benetton bragging rights over their Italian rivals under the Friday night floodlights.

In the rest of the pre-season action involving PRO14 outfits, Munster waltzed to an imposing 45-5 win over London Irish as centre Dan Goggin went over twice, while Cardiff Blues cruised to a 39-14 triumph over Bedford thanks to Jason Harries’ double.

CELTIC CUP CONTINUES

The weekend also saw a further round of Celtic Cup action, allowing PRO14 clubs’ reserve-team players the chance to impress ahead of the upcoming season.

While it was Scarlets who triumphed in an action-packed game over the Dragons, Connacht secured victory against Munster in West Ireland following scores from Sean Masterson, Niall Murray, Diarmuid Kilgallen and a Stephen Kerins brace to set up a 38-27 win.

Elsewhere in the competition, Leinster romped to a dominant 55-24 victory over Ulster thanks to a clinical Gavin Mullin hat-trick while Ospreys beat Cardiff 29-5 in a high-scoring round of games in the tournament.

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