REPORT: Glasgow Warriors 18 Leinster 34
REPORT: Glasgow Warriors 18 Leinster 34
October 21, 2017 / Dave Mervyn
Jonathan Sexton and Rhys Ruddock led by example as Leinster outgunned Glasgow Warriors 34-18 to make it back-to-back bonus point wins in the Champions Cup.
Scotstoun Stadium is always a difficult place to win at in either the Guinness PRO14 or Europe, so today’s five-point return puts Leo Cullen’s men in very good stead at the top of Pool 3.
Two Cian Healy tries, the second from a long maul on the stroke of half-time, had Leinster leading 17-10 at the turarnound, with Stuart Hogg touching down for the wind-backed Warriors.
Talismanic captain Sexton claimed the province’s third try and kicked a 67th-minute penalty to complete his own 17-point haul, the latter strike coming after a Tommy Seymour try and Finn Russell penalty.
However, Leinster sewed up the result with a well-crafted bonus point score, five minutes from the end. Noel Reid was the scorer, his injection of pace and angled run slicing open a tired Glasgow defence to seal a superb 16-point victory on the road.
The returning Sexton’s second-minute penalty rewarded Leinster for their early efforts playing into the elements, with Ali Price guilty of kicking out on the full and the excellent Ruddock and Jack Conan standing out for their combative play.
The slippery conditions made handling extremely difficult, but Glasgow’s fit-again full-back Hogg showed his class with a defence-splitting run from deep, which set up Russell’s levelling penalty after 13 minutes.
Hogg increased his influence with a superb finish for the Scots’ opening try, a Russell grubber being redirected away from the right touchline by Tommy Seymour before the onrushing Hogg managed to dot down before the end-line. Russell converted for a sudden 10-3 lead.
Leinster’s reaction was just what the doctor ordered, Conan and Fergus McFadden carrying strongly before Hogg blundered with an overcooked kick which gave the province an inviting five-metre scrum.
McFadden was unable to gather Sexton’s cross-field kick, but from the resulting penalty and Scott Fardy-won lineout, Leinster rumbled up close before Healy proved unstoppable from close range. The prop’s try was converted from out on the left by Sexton, with the aid of the right hand post.
It was Glasgow’s turn to press after a sliced Luke McGrath kick, the hosts losing Tim Swinson temporarily and captain Ryan Wilson permanently after some bruising phases. Leinster scrum half McGrath was also in the wars after defending a dangerous Russell kick.
Dave Rennie’s Warriors continued to probe for openings, Barry Daly making a crucial intervention out wide as Hogg looked to send Italian winger Leonardo Sarto up the touchline for a potential try.
Hogg had the distance but not the direction from a 39th-minute penalty attempt, and with Ruddock, who was at his disruptive best, forcing a knock-on, the Leinster pack sensed blood just before the break.
They marched the Scots backwards with a powerful penalty-winning scrum, and with Sexton opting for touch, the ensuing lineout drive saw the forwards march through for Healy to crash over for his second try of the game.
Sexton swept over a textbook low conversion from the right, maintaining his 100% record on the 4G pitch, and he then crossed for a beautifully-worked 44th-minute try, combining with Fardy whose deft delivery out the back door sent his number 10 over close to the posts.
McGrath and Sean Cronin were beginning to fizz in attack, but too many missed tackles allowed Glasgow to hit back quickly with Peter Horne and Hogg combining to send Seymour over for his try in the right corner.
Russell was unable to convert, leaving a nine-point gap at 24-15, with the Leinster coaches opting for reinforcements up front in the form of Jack McGrath, James Tracy, Dan Leavy and James Ryan, a European debutant last week.
Glasgow lifted the tempo with a Sam Johnson break from his own 22, and although Sexton’s recovery tackle forced a knock-on, Leavy gave away a central penalty in the 62nd minute which Russell fired over to close the deficit to 24-18.
Conan and Ryan won important turnover ball from the restart, the Leinster forwards knuckling down again with Ryan carrying with great intent in the hosts’ 22. Horne then tackled Sexton off the ball, allowing the latter to restore the nine-point lead from the tee.
Ground-gaining runs from Robbie Henshaw and man-of-the-match Ruddock, allied to a Ross Byrne grubber into the left corner, saw Leinster keep Glasgow pinned back in and around their 22.
A nasty collision between Callum Gibbins and Horne saw the game held up and both players replaced, before Joey Carbery’s pass on the switch had Reid cutting in off his left to dart in between a couple of forwards and evade Henry Pyrgos’ clutches to score under the posts. Byrne’s straightforward conversion was the final scoring act.