RaboDirect Pro12: Mark Bennett revels in Glasgow’s win over Ulster

RaboDirect Pro12: Mark Bennett revels in Glasgow Warrior's 27-9 win against rivals Ulster on Friday

Mark Bennett has refused to be downbeat about Glasgow Warriors’ inability to score a fourth try in their 27-9 win against Ulster.

The Warriors were convincing winners against the Irish province to stay in the hunt for a home RaboDirect Pro12 semi-final with three matches still to play, one more than the three clubs above them, but spurned chances to pick up just their second try-scoring bonus point of the season.

It was great. We were moving the ball and getting go-forward off it so it was exactly what we needed to do and the result speaks for itself

Mark Bennett

“There is disappointment, but you’ve got to remember who we’re playing here,” Bennett said. “We’re playing against Ulster, who are higher in the league than us, so the fact that we’ve got the win is what we were going out for.

“If we’d got the bonus, it would have been exactly that, a bonus, so we’re delighted with the win.”

In a battle of the Pro12’s best two defences, the match was expected to be a physical affair and so it turned out to be with Ulster’s lengthy injury list growing as they lost three props which forced uncontested scrums.

The club later revealed that replacement tighthead prop Declan Fitzpatrick—who had only just returned from injury when he was deployed in the first half—was treated in a Glasgow hospital over the weekend for an irregular heartbeat.

“There’s a lot of sore bodies out there, that’s from both sides there’ll be plenty of sore bodies, so we need to just get the recovery done and get ready for Edinburgh,” Bennett added.

“I think when Ryan [Wilson was sin-binned in the first half] we really knuckled down. We knew it was going to be a really big challenge and we came together as a team.

“It was great. We were moving the ball and getting go-forward off it so it was exactly what we needed to do and the result speaks for itself.”

Bennett, 21, put in a man of the match performance from outside centre and was gifted the third try which sealed the win in the second half by Scottish TMO Jim Yuille.

That was despite replays appearing to show he had lost control of the ball before grounding and the former Scotland U20 international admitted he didn’t think it was a try.

“If I’m honest, [it wasn’t]. I was 90 per cent sure I hadn’t [scored],” he said. “But I’m not going to complain.”

Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend raised eyebrows with his decision to select EDP player Finn Russell, a John Macphail Scholarship recipient in 2013, at outside-half ahead of Duncan Weir—who dropped out of the 23—and out of favour Ruaridh Jackson.

But Russell looked assured with ball in hand and an excellent kicking display and Bennett played down what had been called a ‘young-looking backline’ for such an important game.

“We work together week in week out, so we’ve got to be confident,” he said. “There was experience there – the likes of [Peter Horne] who’s played a lot of rugby. Sean Maitland on the wing, who’s very experienced, and [full-back] Peter Murchie, so you could say it was young, but also had that experience through it.”

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