Match report: Glasgow Warriors 19 Leinster Rugby 32
Match report: Glasgow Warriors 19 Leinster Rugby 32
November 2, 2020 / Ryan Corry
Leo Cullen’s Leinster Rugby side made it four bonus-point wins in-a-row to overtake Ulster at the head of Conference A of the Guinness PRO14 at Scotstoun on Monday night.
Tries came from Jimmy O’Brien, Luke McGrath, Scott Penny and Michael Bent on a cold and wet night in the Scottish city, with David Hawkshaw making his first senior appearance for the province.
Scotstoun Stadium has always been a tough proposition for visiting sides and it looked like a similar story would unfold as Dave Kearney and Ross Molony’s early hard hits were matched by Glasgow’s commitment to play at pace.
Discipline was key. Niko Matawalu, on a fine line onto Grant Stewart’s reverse ball, was snared by the alert Peter Dooley and Scott Penny was in position to squeeze a penalty out of prop Aki Seiuli on the floor.
James Tracy connected with Josh Murphy at the tail of Leinster’s first lineout, flanker Murphy following up in support to gallop for 30 metres and Matawalu’s grubber got away from the grasp of Jimmy O’Brien to concede a scrum on the Blues 22.
Rory O’Loughlin did well to hang onto the hard-charging Nick Grigg and Kearney forced Tommy Seymour to turn back inside on the right for Tracy to snatch another turnover penalty.
They moved smoothly into Glasgow territory through the aerial mastery of Devin Toner, sure handling along the line and Jimmy O’Brien’s slick kick in behind.
The visitors applied enough pressure to engineer an attacking lineout where Murphy rose highest, the forwards worked their way onto the front-foot and Harry Byrne got his hands free out of Sam Johnson’s tackle, a fine offload putting Jimmy O’Brien out of Huw Jones reach, Byrne converting in the 12th minute.
The scavenging instincts of Kelleher and O’Loughlin shut Glasgow down on one touchline and Huw Jones threw a pass on the floor on the other side of the pitch.
When the home side found their rhythm, moving the ball over and back, TJ Ioane eventually sent Seiuli through a gap for Luke McGrath to deal with second row Hamish Bain.
A collision between Rhys Ruddock and O’Loughlin left a hole on the fringes of a ruck for George Horne to exploit ahead of his brother Peter’s equalising extras in the 18th minute.
Leinster responded and the pack hammered out a penalty with Bent to the fore and Byrne was on target for the lead from just short of the 40-metre line on the angle.
Kearney’s fielding of the restart and Jimmy O’Brien’s grasp of a high ball provided the platform for Tommy O’Brien to step on the gas and for Penny to carry the attack forward to force a penalty.
Byrne kicked to the corner and Tracy eyed Toner at the front of the lineout. The maul quickly made ground until Murphy was held up over the line.
Leinster stayed patient. The scrum powered up a penalty. McGrath’s tap and go was too quick for the Glasgow defence and Byrne converted for 17-7 in the 29th minute.
Ruddock had to be alert to deprive Huw Jones in the open field and the captain soon showed his strength in contact, Sam Johnson giving up a penalty when Glasgow were stretched to breaking point.
Murphy was imperious from a five-metre lineout and the maul was ruthless, Scott Penny rumbling over with Tracy on his shoulder.
Straight away, Bent led the Leinster scrum to another penalty and Byrne rifled the ball into the 22. The home side survived to go in 22-7 down at the break.
Warriors needed to strike quickly in the second half. They did just that with bursts by Matawalu and Johnson and the collective drive of five forwards for D’Arcy Rae to ground the ball, Peter Horne converting for 22-14 in the 44th minute.
Leinster had the right attitude, in the face of increased Glasgow physicality, moving the ball smartly through short, simple passes.
Byrne’s sliding kick for Cian Kelleher was a dangerous weapon and the maul was put into gear again until Rob Harley got in the way.
The concession of back-to-back penalties fed Glasgow’s energy, requiring Kearney to shake the ball free from Jones.
Flashing hands from the O’Briens, Tommy and Jimmy, made space for Kelleher up the right and Byrne’s pass put O’Loughlin in the clear. He was just hauled down by Tom Gordon. But, Jones was binned for a blatant offence.
The extra man was quickly turned into the bonus-point try when Bent crashed over.
Leinster coughed up a penalty in their enthusiasm to get off the line. Glasgow faltered at the lienout, Toner pulling in George Turner’s wayward throw.
Scrum-half McGrath came to the rescue, covering inside the 22 as Tommy Seymour loomed, Leinster stole two lineouts against the throw and Kelleher relieved pressure by diving on a loose ball close to his own line.
All the while, Leinster were spending far too much time in their own half and it took another scrum penalty to take them away from the danger zone.
Hawkshaw was introduced for his first cap just before Kelleher was yellow-carded for a tackle on Jones.
It was Glasgow’s turn to crank up a maul, flanker Gordon reaching for the line to make it a 10-point game in the 74th minute.
There was enough composure from Leinster to control the next phase, using the maul again and probing well enough to draw a penalty which Byrne struck with ease to rubber-stamp an impressive performance.