Pro12: Glasgow Warriors 32-10 Ulster
|Glasgow Warriors (6) 32|
|Tries: Hogg, Russell 2, Vernon Cons: Russell 3 Pens: Russell 2|
|Ulster (10) 10|
|Tries: Henry Cons: Humphreys Pens: Humphreys|
Glasgow ran in four second-half tries to secure the bonus-point required for top spot and a Pro12 home semi-final against vanquished opponents Ulster.
Captain Chris Henry ploughed over as the makeshift visitors established a 10-6 interval lead.
But Stuart Hogg broke away for a great solo score to lift the home side and Finn Russell added a brace of tries.
With Ulster fading under intense pressure, the vital score came on 72 minutes from Richie Vernon.
Having slipped to second after last weekend's loss at Ospreys, Glasgow dropped to fourth in the standings when Ulster moved ahead at Scotstoun but a spirited final 30 minutes and the Welsh side's failure to claim a bonus point at Connacht means the Warriors end the regular season at the summit.
However, they will face a very different side next weekend since an Ulster team showing 12 changes had many of their top stars on the sidelines.
Playing against a strong wind, Russell kicked Glasgow into an early lead but the hosts could not build any momentum against determined opponents.
The visitors looked like the team chasing a bonus point as they repeatedly kicked to touch from penalties and it was fourth time lucky as Henry bulldozed his way through, with Ian Humphreys adding the extras.
That score came after a period of desperate defending from Glasgow and a yellow card for lock Jonny Gray for an offside infringement.
A sell-out crowd at Scotstoun was briefly roused from their nervous hush when Russell reduced the deficit with another penalty, only for Humphreys to split the posts soon after.
The 10,000 fans packed inside the stadium must have been expecting the Warriors to begin the second half in determined fashion but again it was Ulster who looked the brighter side as the gusts dropped.
On 52 minutes, Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend made five changes, introducing a new front row and putting Henry Pyrgos to scrum-half.
The hosts' pace immediately quickened and Hogg gathered a long, looping pass to race away and collect his own perfectly weighted kick as he scored in the corner, with Russell unable to land a difficult conversion.
A few minutes later, Russell was knocking over a much easier kick, having shown great strength to go through two tackles and plant the ball down near the posts.
With Ulster starting to wilt, Andrew Warwick was sent to the sin bin and Gray powered his way into the scoring zone only to be prevented from grounding by a cluster of defenders in white.
Tommy Seymour was then well placed to reach the corner only for Pyrgos to throw a wild pass behind the winger and into touch.
Glasgow were now camped in the Ulster 22 and a lovely dummy created a gap for Russell to dart through for his second try, with his second conversion following.
The crowd were now roaring their support and the noise was deafening when Vernon broke a weak tackle 30 metres out. The flanker-turned-centre had the speed to get home and, with the crucial bonus point secured, Russell was in no hurry to knock over the extras.
Glasgow Warriors: Hogg, Seymour, Vernon, Horne, S. Lamont, Russell, Matawalu, Grant, Hall, de Klerk, Gray, Kellock, Strauss, Fusaro, Ashe.
Replacements: Murchie for Hogg (73), Weir for Horne (74), Pyrgos for Matawalu (52), Reid for Grant (52), MacArthur for Hall (52), Cusack for de Klerk (52), Wilson for Fusaro (52), Nakarawa for Kellock (60).
Sin Bin: Gray (27).
Ulster: Ludik, Scholes, Arnold, McCloskey, Allen, Humphreys, P. Marshall, Warwick, Herring, R Lutton, Stevenson, van der Merwe, C. Ross, Henry, Diack, Henderson.
Replacements: Bowe for Allen (10), P Jackson for Humphreys (50), Pienaar for P. Marshall (73), B Ross for R Lutton (60), Henderson for Henry (17), McCall for Henderson (65).
Not Used: Best, Wilson.
Sin Bin: Warwick (63).