On a sandy Firhill Park pitch, both teams struggled to make an early impact, and it was the Warriors who were first to strike, through a ninth-minute Ruaridh Jackson penalty after Wannenburg had been pulled up for a marginally late tackle. Pienaar had the chance to equalise two minutes later with Moray Low penalised for obstructing Simon Danielli, but his long-distance kick veered to the left of the posts.
The Springbok did not have long to wait for a second bite, however, slotting over a kick on 13 minutes after Low had been penalised again, this time for an infringement in the scrum. With the score at Glasgow 3 Ulster 3, it was time for one of the selections to impose some authority on the game, but the combination of a poor playing surface and handling errors from both sides kept the scoreline static well into the second quarter, when a further Glasgow indiscretion in the scrum gave Pienaar leave to kick Ulster into the lead with another penalty on 25 minutes.
As the half wore on Glasgow continued to edge the encounter, and should have drawn level through a Jackson penalty on 36 minutes, but his kick soared well off-target. Ulster finished off the half on the offensive, but never posed a serious threat in terms of try-scoring opportunities, and were happy to extend their lead to six points with a sublime long-distance penalty from Pienaar in stoppage time. From a good five metres inside his own half, the scrum-cum-out-half showed his international class with a belting kick that split the posts to bring a patchy first half to an end.
Half-Time Score Glasgow 3 Ulster 9
The second half opened with Jackson attempting to emulate Pienaar's kick from distance with an early penalty, but the effort lacked direction and power. Yet another Ulster infringement on 44 minutes gave the Scottish international a further chance closer to the posts this time, but again his kick was not up to the mark, and Ulster sneaked out of jail once more.
Glasgow kept applying pressure nonetheless, and were rewarded on 48 minutes when Jackson improved his record to two penalties from five after Ulster had collapsed a scrum. The visitors finally got their hands on the ball on 53 minutes, and showed their most enterprising move of the game when Wallace kicked on for Craig Gilroy to tear down the left wing. The prolific youngster was stopped well before the try-line, but Ulster had at last displayed some of the free-flowing rugby they are capable of.
A powerful surge through midfield from Danielli, impressive in his unaccustomed role of full-back, upped the tempo, but then, in a flash, it was the Warriors who grabbed a try almost from nowhere. A Marshall clearance was charged down by a Glasgow hand, and in the ensuing confusion replacement prop Ryan Grant was on hand to touch down. Jackson proved to finally have found his kicking boots, sinking the conversion to make the score Glasgow 13 Ulster 9.
Worse followed with the quick succession of two missed Pienaar penalties, a sin-bin for replacement prop Rory Best, and another successful Jackson penalty, before Ulster forced their way to mere metres from the try-line thanks to superb placement kicking from Pienaar. They held possession well from the line-out, and it was the Springbok himself who stretched out a long arm to touch down just on the line. Pienaar converted his own score to level proceedings at Glasgow 16 Ulster 16.
With Glasgow's Ritchie Vernon yellow-carded for a professional foul in the lead-up to Pienaar's try, the teams were again level in terms of manpower, and Pienaar got the chance to restore the lead on 75 minutes with a penalty from half-way. His kick was again spot-on, making it Glasgow 16 Ulster 19, and equalling his own personal 19-point tally from the corresponding Ravenhill tie in which he had made his Ulster debut.
But Glasgow replacement Duncan Weir equalised with a penalty of his own on 77 minutes, and just as it looked as if the match were destined for a draw, the Warriors were penalised just inside the Ulster half. Referee David Jones further punished the Scots' indiscipline by advancing the kick by ten metres, but Pienaar still had his work cut out. Just as he had done against the Dragons a week before, the South African showed nerves of steel to steer the ball between the posts and secure the victory, which propelled Ulster to second place in the Magners League standings.
Full-Time Score Glasgow 19 Ulster 22
(15 - 9) B Stortoni; DTW van der Merwe, F Aramburu, P Murchie, A Dunbar; R Jackson, C Gregor (c)
(1 - 8) J Welsh, F Thomson, M Low, A Muldowney, R Hartley, J Eddie, R Wilson, R Vernon
Replacements (16 - 23) P MacArthur, K Tkachuk, R Grant, C Fusaro, J Beattie, H Pyrgos, D Weir, H O'Hare
(15 - 9) S Danielli; C Gaston, N Spence, P Wallace, C Gilroy; R Pienaar, P Marshall
(1 - 8) T Court, A Kyriacou, D Fitzpatrick, J Muller (c), D Tuohy, R Diack, C Henry, P Wannenburg
Replacements (16 - 23) R Best, P McAllister, B Young, T Barker, W Faloon, I Whitten, T Seymour, A D'Arcy
|Glasgow Warriors Score Card|
|Ulster Rugby Score Card|