Glasgow 33-25 Leinster

After their second half destruction of last year’s champions Connacht, this week Glasgow returned to Scotstoun to face beaten finalists Leinster on their new artificial surface in front of an increased capacity crowd and, er, taller goalposts.

“Toonies Tombola” was rather quiet, with only Puafisi coming into the starting 15 for Zander Fagerson. Lee Jones took the 23 shirt on the bench, displacing Sean Lamont who was on a 2 in 2 try scoring streak after last week’s 100th Warriors outing.

Both teams evidently wanted to play some entertaining rugby, with the fast, consistent surface playing a factor. The first chance of points came to the home side, with co-captain Henry Pyrgos hooking his effort wide in deceptively windy conditions.

The Warriors were not to be denied though, and after some lovely carrying from the forward pack, a total peach of a pass from Sam Johnson sent Tommy Seymour over the whitewash for a carbon copy of last week’s opening try. The conversion was missed but the ease with which Glasgow carved open the Leinster defence was promising.

Leinster are the bookies favourites to win the league this year, and it was not surprising to see them crash their way back into the fixture. Poor discipline from the Glasgow back row gave the Irish a platform, and Rob Kearney raced over to dot down. Young standoff Joey Carbery nailed the conversion to give his team the lead 7-5 with 25 minutes played.

Almost everyone at Scotstoun was sad to see Leone Nakarawa depart this summer, but Tim Swinson could be forgiven for being grateful to see the back of the Fijian lock as it will mean regular starts. Superb at the breakdown through this (and last) week, everyone’s favourite dodgy moustache got Glasgow back in front with another try on the half hour to add to last week’s effort. Pyrgos had an easy conversion from right in front and this time made no mistake to make it 12-7 to Glasgow.

Things never seem to be straightforward against Leinster and it was more indiscipline from Glasgow that turned the half on its head. Leonardo Sarto, who was having another strong game with ball in hand, was instead yellow carded for persistent breakdown offences. Unfortunately for the Italian he was just the latest of a number of Warriors misbehaving in John Lacey’s eyes, but Leinster took full advantage of the numerical deficit, scoring two tries in the 4 minutes before halftime (including a belter of a cross kick for Zane Kirchner to dot down). 1 out of 2 conversions left the visitors with a decided edge with another six minutes against 14 men to come.

HT Glasgow 12 – 19 Leinster

The second 40 kicked off with Glasgow really up against it. Defensively the team should take great credit for limiting the Irish to only 3 more points in the sin bin period, which took the Leinster lead to 10 points. These are the “championship minutes” so beloved of Joe Schmidt, where the top teams exert the right amount of pressure to secure a result when it matters most.

At times like this you need your big players to really step up: enter Tommy Seymour.

On the 50 minute mark, a terrible looped pass was snatched on the full by the Scotland wing for an easy run in from about 40 metres out for his second try of the game. How many times does he need to score interceptions before people realise it’s not luck? A simple conversion, and Glasgow were back in the game at 19-22.

Tommy was not quite done yet however. 2 minutes later, a bone crunching hit from Simone Favaro (who else?) caused a turnover in the Irish half. Seymour scooped up the ball, darted about a bit, then proceeded to smoke past Mike McCarthy and the rest of the defence. An unbelievable individual effort securing the bonus point for the Scotstoun men. The conversion was good and Glasgow were 4 points to the good inside 2 minutes.

Leinster reverted to a more dogged style after this, with plenty of mauls and tight ‘one up’ rugby. Glasgow dealt well with this, particularly the maul defence which has always been a big issue for them. 3 points were conceded on 63 minutes to bring the gap back to 1 point, but Hogg had an immediate chance to respond from all of 55m. In the difficult conditions it would have been an amazing penalty from the in-form full back but it drifted wide, leaving the score at 26-25 to Glasgow.

Things were looking a bit tight for comfort, so over to Tommy for the last major action of the game. With 74 minutes gone, and a massive call from the co-captains to take a penalty scrum on the Leinster 10 metre line. A beautiful set-move line from 1st phase ball, and Seymour crashed over for his 4th and Glasgow’s 5th try of the day. A successful conversion denied Leinster even a losing bonus, making the 33-25 result all the sweeter as we know how vital those things become at the tail end of the season.

Another 5 points bagged against a potential title rival and the new look Scotstoun christened with a win.

SRBlog Man of the Match: Really the easiest MotM I will probably ever give out! Tommy Seymour was at his predatory best, and has put his hand firmly up for the 14 shirt for the Lions. Now we just need to find some Welsh links in his varied background… Honourable mentions also to Stuart Hogg who continues to look electric with ball in hand, Tim Swinson who was a total menace at the breakdown, and Jonny Gray, who performed as Jonny always does, tackling and carrying over and over. He struggles to get the plaudits that his work rate and efficiency deserve.

Glasgow Warriors: Hogg, Sarto, Dunbar, Johnson, Seymour, Horne, Pyrgos, Reid, Brown, Puafisi, Swinson, Gray, Harley, Favaro, Wilson. Replacements: Flynn, Allan, Fagerson, Uanivi, Wynne, Price, Clegg, Jones.

Leinster: R. Kearney, McFadden, G. Ringrose, Reid, D. Kearney, Carbery, L. McGrath, Healy, Tracy, Bent, McCarthy, Molony, Leavy, van der Flier, Murphy. Replacements: B. Byrne, Dooley, Furlong, M. Kearney, D. Ryan, Gibson-Park, Marsh, Kirchner.

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)

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Originally from the Isle of Bute, John is a Glasgow Warriors fan and retired crash ball specialist. John still enjoys the occasional rugby 'social' with his former team mates at Bute and Bishopton RFC

25 comments on “Glasgow 33-25 Leinster

  1. Matto on

    Excellent start to the season for Glasgow. Bewildering as an Edinburgh supporter to witness the contrast in backs play.
    I see that potential Lions team selections are popping up on other sites. I am, once again, slightly bewildered by a number of individuals selecting Liam Williams above Hogg for the 15 spot. Whilst Williams is undoubtedly very good, I don’t see how anyone who has watched both players of late can come to the conclusion that Williams should be in ahead.
    Anyway, Hogg and Seymour are going about everything in exactly the right way to start the season of a Lions tour – long may it continue. We could really do with going one better than last year in the 6N. Gatland has made some hesitantly positive noises about Scottish players, but I think we’ll need some massive performances to convert that into anything more substantial. Players who in my mind have a good chance of being there or there about the test 23 are: Hogg. Fair to middling: Wullie Nel, Seymour (if he can keep it up). A chance: J Gray, Hardie. Players who are an outside bet for the 23, but who have a chance of being on the tour: Bennett, Dunbar, Taylor, Scott, Laidlaw, Russell, R Gray, Huw Jones. Any others?
    I see both Maitland and Scott got on the scoreboard this weekend – good to see them both settling in. However, Ashe and Denton both out for the AIs, so we’re looking a bit thin at 8. What’s happening with Josh Strauss just now?
    Apologies for the rambling stream of consciousness.

    • FF on

      Still chat that Townshend’s might be touring with the Lions (other papers have also suggested cotter whilst Townshend’s takes Scotland to Australia – Cotter was interviewed for the lions head coach job). If he goes, so will Hogg, Seymour and maybe a few others (Bennett, Gray, Dunbar, Horne might all be in with a better shout) I would imagine.

      • Rory Baldwin on

        There’s a fair bit of overlap between Cotter and Gatland’s skillsets in the “taciturn Kiwi forward coach” department. If Gatland wants something fresh in his management team you’d think Toony would be more suitable. If only they could find someone to replace Rowntree…

      • FF on

        Ah yes, but Gatland has said they will take at least one more coach than last time so that not every coach has to do every training session. In which case, Cotter will be the reserve taciturn Kiwi. Or maybe the Lions media spokesman.

      • Mikelinds on

        Should be very surprised if Toonie didn’t get right to work with Scotland, Lions notwithstanding. That said, I can’t see a better candidate for the backs coach right now.

    • Al on

      From a Scottish point of view, I don’t want GT anywhere near the lions. He’s going to be busy in Aussie and Fiji next summer and I don’t want us to end up going on tour with a stand-in coach. We need to keep winning games and only continuity of coaching will do that. A summer of instability won’t help

      As for Lions, unless we do well in the Spring, you can forget about any Scots players in the Pro12 getting a look in on club form alone as Gatland probably and the English coaches definitely don’t rate it as a competition at all.

      With Ashe, Denton and Strauss carrying injuries, I expect to see Barclay, Wilson and du Preez (if he’s qualified by then) as our possible number eights in the AIs.

      • FF on

        Barclay is not a test level 8. I’d rather give Bradbury his stripes than put Barclay in. Strauss should be fit well before AIs though, I’d have thought.

      • Matto on

        Don’t forget there is also the ERC, which every coach in the home nations takes seriously. Glasgow have been relatively disappointing there, but a ‘breakthrough year’ with candidate players performing at their best would do no harm at all.

  2. Bulldog on

    Winning the Pro 12 is a good place to get noticed. First things First, IMO. I cannot believe we are talking about Lions when we have so much great rugby to play and Glasgow are cuffing the Irish off the park.

    Townsend is worth more than being a side kick ,so he should stay away, well done GT, good call.

    Gatland is only trying to suit his own ends at what cost to Scotland and GT. He is just keeping his friends close and his rivals even closer. How sneaky.

    England have a decent side this time and will be worthy of jerseys ,so take one of their cast offs and leave our quality coach , to take his nation on tour. GT’s priority must be to develop a consistent national side and then see what jobs open up for him.

    For me , he still has to take Glasgow through this season and hopefully to a positive outcome.

    2 from 2 , 10 points – bring it on

      • Bulldog on

        I don’t think Townsend has been given anything to turn down …

        It appears to be paper talk. According to the Daily Mail he ‘has ruled himself out’ and I endorse his judgement.

        New Job accepted, first task is to get touring with the Scots IMO.

    • Matto on

      You could also argue that a Lions tour wouldn’t do Toony any harm from a development point of view. Whilst he’s undoubtedly incredibly precocious as a coach, his cv is thin. Yes, he’ll get a lot of learning by doing in the Scotland role, but he’ll get more benefit from others’ experience on a Lions tour. That may well have an overall benefit for Scotland, it’s hard to say. The Lions is a special event, but it can also serve to highlight the desperate state of your nation’s rugby, as has happened with Scotland of late, which can breed negativity. Toony is smart enough to weigh up the pros and cons. If he gets offered it and thinks it’ll help his own development to the longer term benefit of Scotland, then he may take it.

      • The Chiel on

        If I was Toonie I’d leave this one well alone.
        Whilst he’s played all over the world, as Matto says his coaching CV is based on a period of learning ( 2 – 3 years ) at Glasgow, not waving a magic wand in three weeks. Again as pointed out above, he’s not got Europe right – yet.
        The available time to get a decent attacking strategy decided on, and player time to understand and implement it will be really short, particularly if there is an early mid week / Saturday side split. When under pressure Gatland will revert to Warrenball, and there’s not much Toonie can teach Jamie Roberts about crash ball. There is also the simple point that the Lions will very likely get gubbed. And why give away his best attacking ideas to the other home nations ? :)

        I’d far rather he took Scotland to Australia and started to convert / integrate the non Glasgow players to his style of play.

  3. James on

    Slightly off topic for the current thread but what constitutes a good season for Scotland this season?

    Georgia and Italy are must wins but what about the rest? Argentina have started the RC about as well as could be expected. All I’ve seen of them is the 1st half against the ABs at the weekend and some of the rugby they played was sublime. I know they went on to ship a sack full of points but on that first half performance they could cause a lot of teams problems.

    Australia looked to be in disarray over the summer but have just beaten SA. I’ve not seen much of their games, what are our chances against them?

    Then in the 6N – Ireland and Wales at home with France and England away. I would hope we can beat Ireland or Wales (please God can we beat Wales…) and you never know with the French but I suspect we’ll struggle at Twickers.

    I’d say 1 win in the AIs and 2 in the 6N would be a poor season for this group of players. 2 wins in the AIs and 2 in the 6N, ok but could/should do better. For me, 2 wins in the AIs and 3 in the 6N and the season starts to look good with an excellent season being 3 wins in the AIs and 4 in the 6N.

    What do others think, am I selling us short or being too optimistic?

    • FF on

      1 win in AIs and 2 wins in 6N is par. Success if we end up above France in rankings and go into second pot teams for World Cup draw.

      Beating either of Australia or Argentina would be an outstanding result. Beating any of Wales or Ireland or France would be an outstanding result. Beating Enland at Twickenham would be something of a miracle.

      Ultimately, to win back respect for Sottish rugby we have to beat these teams but at present there is no doubt victories are still to be savoured rather than expected. I wouldn’t like to put limits on how far this squad can go but we do have weaknesses – we lack the breakdown savagery of the best teams, we lack huge ball-carrying back rows and when we can’t force the tempo higher we struggle to break the line. We are still appalling at restarts and prone to defensive brainfarts. Good news is this is easily our best squad since 1999 and we actually have talent coming through like Hoyland, Fagerson, Ritchie, Bradbury, Kinghorn, Hastings, Smith etc. maybe we’ll soon beat England at Twickenham after all.

      • Mikelinds on

        I have to say that, that is a pretty accurate assessment. I hope BVC wants to leave on a really positive note, that might lift things a bit, as will the fact the guys know Toonie is taking over. After that, the next big issue nationally is who Toonie has as forwards coach. Apologies to the Embra folk who probably see a replacement of their coaching staff as the next big issue. It’s an issue to be addressed, and I would be astonished if the SRU weren’t taking steps right now. Not as easy a sell as Glasgow unfortunately.

      • Matto on

        I guess the lack of savagery was where VC was going with the whole rabbitgate thing (assuming it’s not total bollocks). Possibly not the best way to go about it, but you can kind of see his point. Strauss, Bradbury, Hardie for a back row? Rate Du Preez too, but there has to be at least one genuine Scottish accent in there, surely.

  4. JohnMc on

    Reflecting on the manner of our two Test wins in Japan this summer makes me a bit apprehensive about the AIs and the 17 6N. They were in the end victories with a few key players missing in hot and humid conditions and against a Japan side who are no mugs in the Test arena, but we did labour somewhat and that was a worry.

    Two out of three AI wins would be very welcome. As to the 6N, I do believe we’ve shown enough in the last couple of seasons to have our best chance for a while of beating Ireland and Wales at home. Italy at Murrayfield should hold no fears for us (even allowing for the memory of the 2015 disaster). No-one knows, least of all the French, what kind of France we will take on in SdF. But if as FF says – and I agree – this is our best squad since 1999, then I will go there as I do every two years but this time with more hope. England at Twickenham is a really scary prospect, and will be the toughest of our eight AI/6N Tests, such is the turn round achieved by Eddie Jones and his players. Three wins, four at a pinch in the 17 6N, would be a triumph for us, and it’s not a pipe dream I believe.

  5. Matto on

    If we can keep 15 players on the pitch, we can take Wales at Murrayfield – surely! Ireland totally schooled us at the breakdown last time around – will we have an answer to that now? Italy – you would hope so. France away – who knows, but they did alright in Argentina in the summer. England at Twickers would be considered, ahem, an upset…
    For me, 2 wins in AI and 3 in 6N would be very good indeed. Without wishing to sound pessimistic, I would be astounded if we do better than that. On the other hand, I would be disappointed with anything less than 4 wins across the two comps.

  6. Robbie on

    2 wins from both the AI and 6N is what is likely required at this stage to get into the all important top 8 for RWC, which should roughly speaking be our benchmark for success.

    Autumn International-wise Argentina produce moments of brilliance but are susceptible to going to sleep defensively and in front of a partisan crowd we should be expecting to dig out a result.

    Not sure what’s going to be left of Chieka’s AUS by the time they finish the Rugby Championship but they’ve slipped badly on the world rankings so losing to them will hurt us.

    Georgia is essential but will likely be a tricky encounter on a smaller pitch.

    In 6Ns, our target matches should be Italy & Wales at home and then one of FRA away or IRE at home. If we could complete all that, we would be considered genuine competitors in international rugby terms.

    • FF on

      That shows the size of our challenge. We haven’t beaten Wales in the last 10 attempts and we haven’t beaten France in Paris since 1999. Both results would be massive. I do think we’re good enough to do it (and France are pretty bad at the moment) but it would represent a huge step forward. I really don’t think we can do it without sorting out the breakdown and kick offs. So, good to hear Richie Gray is still with the coaching team for this season at least.

  7. Ade on

    2 wins in the AI would be a good starting point. I think the game we are most likely to lose would be against Argentina rather than the Aussies as might usually be the form guide.

    2 wins in the 6N could feel like a disappointing return in some ways, but could also be a relative success depending on other results.

    I can’t find the napkin I wrote it on, but after the last 6N I trawled through the results of the last 15 years, looking at tries scored/against, overall points scored/conceded and average win/loss margin. If I remember right we were averaging a >>10 point loss up until BVC appeared. It came down a chunk in his first year, and last season was in the region of an average 2 point loss. Significant strides have been made in terms of being competitive, and with the current crop of players you would expect this to continue.

    I don’t like watching Scotland lose, but if I can see improvements, and working towards parity, followed by dominating the opposition, then I am willing to continue suffering. The results of the last few years suggest we are going in the right direction.

  8. James on

    Some good reasoned responses. It seems everyone is on roughly the same wave length about where we are in world rugby terms.

    I just hope this year it is different as normally with a glimmer of improvement in the AIs and a reasonable run from Glasgow, January sees me getting as excited as a kid at Christmas thinking this is our year for the 6N only to be brutally crushed by about 5pm on the 1st Saturday or Sunday of February!

    But this year it really will be different, right…

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