Leinster registered their first pool win in this season’s Heineken Cup at the RDS, outscoring Glasgow Warriors by five tries to one in a performance packed full of power and pace…
Giving his post-match reaction, Leinster head coach Joe Schmidt said: “You don’t tend to get anything easy with Glasgow, but it was certainly a relief to get through the way we did.
“We had to build some pretty combative phases to get over and we were just delighted to get the space on the scoreboard that took a bit of pressure off in the second half.
“The first forty (minutes) was probably the best 40 we have put together. I thought we built the momentum really well and stayed really focused on the job in hand.
“Eoin (O’Malley) profited twice from that and we managed to get two others to get that bonus point which can be so important in these pools that are so competitive.”
He added: “You don’t get too much time to reflect and be satisfied. It is such a week-to-week existence. We are where we wanted to be after today (sitting top of the pool).
“It means at least we will have our noses in front no matter what happens at the end of today (and the Bath-Montpellier game). That is really important for us.”
Cruising to the bonus point after just 40 minutes, the defending champions notched two tries while Devin Toner was in the sin-bin, with Eoin O’Malley, Brian O’Driscoll’s deputy in the number 13 jersey, scoring both of them.
Rob Kearney and Gordon D’Arcy also touched down in a strong first half showing, the Warriors’ cause not being helped by a high error count.
Duncan Weir kicked two first half penalties for the visitors, who had snatched a shock league win here back in September.
Man-of-the-match Jamie Heaslip led Leinster’s command of the collisions and they continued to be efficient in all facets after the break, weathering an early storm from the Scots.
Glasgow gained some consolation with a late try from replacement scrum half Henry Pyrgos, but Isaac Boss had the final say for Leinster in front of a 17,924-strong crowd.
Weir, Glasgow’s man-of-the-match in last weekend’s win over Bath, banged over a long range penalty in the third minute to give them an early advantage.
But right from the restart, Leinster capitalised on a Glasgow mistake from to put Kearney over in the right corner. Showing great vision, Jonathan Sexton hung up a cross-field kick for Isa Nacewa and he drew the tackle before feeding Kearney for the score.
The conversion was expertly added from wide out by Sexton, whose half-back partner Eoin Reddan was to the forefront of a bright opening spell.
Stuart Hogg rampaged downfield to bring the Warriors into the hosts’ 22 but the home defence held firm and Nacewa’s kick chase on the right led to Sexton hammering over his only penalty goal, having earlier missed one from the other side.
Glasgow replied through the boot of Weir, who split the posts after Toner was sin-binned for pulling down a player at a lineout.
However, Leinster were beginning to find their rhythm in attack and they went for the jugular when Sexton took a quick tap. Having been pulled to the left and right, Glasgow were then caught out by their posts as Heaslip powered into contact and O’Malley snuck over from the ensuing ruck.
Six minutes later, Heaslip broke from a scrum in the Scots’ 22 and when play was swept back into midfield, D’Arcy’s superb short pass sent O’Malley darting through for his second seven-pointer.
Glasgow’s share of possession dwindled as half-time approached and some neat interplay between Sean O’Brien and Nacewa put the supporting D’Arcy over to the right of the posts.
Sexton tagged on his fourth successful conversion, giving Glasgow a mountain to climb at 31-6 down. They pressed early in the second half, with Ryan Wilson being brought down just inches short of the try-line.
Al Kellock and Richie Gray were prominent as Sean Lineen’s side raised the tempo, with winger Tommy Seymour unfortunate to knock on in plenty of space.
Glasgow were the aggressors for much of the closing half hour, with hard-tackling Leinster maintaining their lead as Joe Schmidt emptied the replacements bench.
They were caught out when Troy Nathan thundered straight through a 74th minute ruck and passed for fellow replacement Pyrgos to touch down, with Weir converting.
But Leinster finished the game on the attack, a half-break from Ian Madigan and Shane Jennings’ deft one-handed flick creating the opening for Boss to round off a satisfying Sunday afternoon for the province.
LEINSTER SCORERS: E. O’Malley (2 tries), R. Kearney (1 try), G. D’Arcy (1 try), I. Boss (1 try), J. Sexton (4 conversions and 1 penalty), I. Madigan (1 conversion)
GLASGOW WARRIORS SCORERS: H. Pyrgos (1 try), D. Weir (1 conversion and 2 penalties)
15: Rob Kearney
14: Isa Nacewa
13: Eoin O’Malley
12: Gordon D’Arcy (Fionn Carr, 57)
11: Luke Fitzgerald
10: Jonathan Sexton (Ian Madigan, 61)
9: Eoin Reddan (Isaac Boss, 61)
1: Heinke van der Merwe (Cian Healy, 48)
2: Sean Cronin (Richardt Strauss, 61)
3: Mike Ross (Nathan White, 57)
4: Leo Cullen CAPTAIN
5: Devin Toner
6: Kevin McLaughlin (Rhys Ruddock, 66)
7: Sean O’Brien (Shane Jennings, 54)
8: Jamie Heaslip
GLASGOW WARRIORS: S Hogg; T Seymour, P Murchie, G Morrison, C Shaw; D Weir, C Cusiter; R Grant, P MacArthur, M Cusack, R Gray, A Kellock CAPTAIN, R Harley, J Barclay, R Wilson.
REPLACEMENTS: F Gillies, J Welsh, E Kalman, T Ryder, H Pyrgos, C Fusaro, F Aramburu, T Nathan.
REFEREE: Andrew Small (RFU), ASSISTANT REFEREES: Martin Fox, Roy Maybank (both RFU), 4th OFFICIAL: Kevin Beggs (IRFU), 5th OFFICIAL: Brian MacNeice (IRFU), TMO: Graham Hughes (RFU)