Leinster and Glasgow Warriors earned three points apiece at the end of an enthralling eight-try 34-34 draw in the GUINNESS PRO12 at the RDS…Isaac Boss post-match reaction…
The table-topping Warriors were well on top in the first half, establishing a stunning 27-7 interval lead as Peter Horne converted tries from Stuart Hogg, Richie Vernon and Mark Bennett.
But the defending PRO12 champions turned the game on its head by producing a thrilling 24-point turnaround which included a brace of tries from man-of-the-match Isaac Boss and a superb solo effort from Jordi Murphy.
Ian Madigan converted all three and his 70th minute penalty to put Leinster seven points clear – only for Glasgow to hit back just three minutes later, with replacement Glenn Bryce touching down and Horne landing the levelling conversion.
Speaking after the game, Isaac Boss said: ‘(Being man-of-the-match) is not much of a consolation, I'd rather have a win. It's a shame we let the first half get away from us, that happens sometimes. Before you know it, one or two things don't go your way and you're 20 points down at half-time.
‘I think it was good character from us. We knew what we had to do and it was spoken about in the second half. It's no magic formula except a bit of an attitude shift and trying to change the momentum.
‘We did the hard yards to get in front (at 34-27) and they needed the try to level with us. I think it was just a bit of a lapse for a second that let them back in it.
‘We know we should have got more points out of it in the end. You look at 20 (minutes) to go, we were really on the offensive there. It's disappointing that we didn't finish off our comeback, but at the same time credit the character.’
Returning to the scene of last May's PRO12 final defeat, the Scots made early inroads and deservedly took a 7-0 lead after as many minutes. Vernon's midfield offload gave Hogg the opportunity to fend off Eoin Reddan's tackle and place the ball at the left hand post, with Horne, who started at out-half for the injured Finn Russell (ankle), comfortably converting.
Horne punished a lineout infringement for three more points as Leinster struggled for possession and territory. DTH van der Merwe then threatened on the left wing before the hosts got a grip on proceedings.
A strong carry from Tom Denton sparked a prolonged spell of Leinster pressure inside the Glasgow 22. The visitors' defence held firm until Shane Jennings and Jimmy Gopperth combined to release Fergus McFadden to go over in the right corner. Madigan converted with aplomb for 10-7.
However, the Leinster defensive line gave way soon after as Tommy Seymour made ground on the right and centre Vernon used his size to take contact and stretch over to score just to the right of the posts. Horne's conversion restored the 10-point buffer.
A third converted try followed for the Warriors six minutes before the break. Centre Bennett burst on to Niko Matawalu's flat pass and evaded McFadden's clutches before crashing over by the posts. Bennett added a long range penalty in injury-time, widening the gap to 20 points.
The second half was just 25 seconds' old when Bryce, who replaced the injured Hogg, had his clearance kick blocked by Boss and the Leinster replacement scrum half won the race to touch down the loose ball.
Madigan swept the conversion over and he quickly tagged on a penalty with front rowers Cian Healy and Sean Cronin making the desired impact off the bench. But the game took on a completely different complexion after Fijian Matawalu was sin-binned for elbowing Healy off the ball.
Leinster responded with two tries in three minutes, flanker Murphy avoiding three tackles on a terrific run in from the 10-metre line. Boss then completed his brace, raiding in off the back of a ruck following smart runs from Madigan and lively replacement Luke Fitzgerald. Madigan converted both for a sudden 31-27 advantage.
There were yet more twists and turns in the closing stages and Leinster, who have a real fight on their hands to reach the play-offs, may yet rue their failure to see this result out.
The Glasgow forwards took up the baton from a couple of penalties and close-in mauls before Henry Pyrgos and Horne passed wide to the left where Bryce went over unopposed. Place-kicker Horne then held his nerve to ensure a share of the spoils for his side.
LEINSTER SCORERS: F. McFadden (1 try), I. Boss (2 tries), J. Murphy (1 try), I. Madigan (4 conversions and 2 penalties)
GLASGOW WARRIORS SCORERS: S. Hogg (1 try), R. Vernon (1 try), M. Bennett (1 try), G. Bryce (1 try), P. Horne (4 conversions and 1 penalty), M. Bennett (1 penalty)
15. Zane Kirchner
14. Fergus McFadden (Luke Fitzgerald, 50)
13. Ben Te'o (Gordon D'Arcy, 71)
12. Ian Madigan
11. Dave Kearney
10. Jimmy Gopperth
9. Eoin Reddan (Isaac Boss, 32)
1. Michael Bent (Cian Healy, half-time)
2. Richardt Strauss (Sean Cronin, 32-35; half-time)
3. Martin Moore (Tadhg Furlong, 52)
4. Tom Denton
5. Mike McCarthy
6. Jordi Murphy
7. Shane Jennings CAPTAIN
8. Jack Conan (Dominic Ryan, 65)
REPLACEMENT NOT USED: Ben Marshall.
GLASGOW WARRIORS: Stuart Hogg; Tommy Seymour, Mark Bennett, Richie Vernon, DTH van der Merwe; Peter Horne, Niko Matawalu; Alex Allan, Fraser Brown, Zander Fagerson, Tim Swinson, Al Kellock CAPTAIN, Rob Harley, Chris Fusaro, Josh Strauss.
REPLACEMENTS: Pat MacArthur, Jerry Yanuyanutawa, Mike Cusack, Jonny Gray, Adam Ashe, Henry Pyrgos, Connor Braid, Glenn Bryce.
REFEREE: Nigel Owens (WRU); ASSISTANT REFEREES: David Wilkinson, Kieran Barry (both IRFU); CITING COMMISSIONER: John Cole (IRFU); TMO: Seamus Fannery (IRFU).