Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Leinster 24 – 39 Glasgow Warriors

Adam Hastings
Adam Hastings on the run supported by Sam Johnson and Niko Matawalu - pic © Al Ross

The 1872 Cup may be out of the equation, but the final Scottish derby match of the season should see a motivated Warriors side take to the pitch, as their win over Leinster assured that they go into the last match of the regular season knowing any win over Edinburgh will guarantee a home semi-final.

Leinster began on the attack until a poor, or wind-affected pass, allowed Tommy Seymour to boot ahead and chase. After his second touch had taken Seymour just inside the 22, Ross Byrne tackled the flying winger before he had reached the ball, so Byrne took a 10min seat on the naughty step, and Adam Hastings took 3 points.

A Fraser Brown high tackle gave Leinster a penalty 15m out, and with no recognised place-kicker on the field, they opted for a kick to the corner. Frankenstein’s lock, Devin Toner, plucked the line-out from the clouds, and with Glasgow’s defence stretched and conceding penalty advantages all over the shop, Dave Kearney eventually stepped inside Stuart Hogg and scored in the left-hand corner.

Hastings put Glasgow back in front with another penalty soon after, his initial dummy and carry from inside his own half had put Glasgow into dangerous territory, and the Warriors then extended their lead with a wonderful score from inside their own 22.

Ali Price spotted a gap at the side of a breakdown and belted downfield, he off-loaded out the back of the hand to the onrushing Sam Johnson, and in comparison to the finish he produced at Twickenham, this was an easy run-in as he saw off Ross Byrne and Jordan Larmour on his race to the line.

The frequently unfortunate Johnson was again forced from the field of play within 5mins of that try by Peter Horne, a second injury replacement for Glasgow after captain Chris Fusaro had made way for Adam Ashe.

These two sides usually seem to play out close-fought crackerjacks at this ground, and although this wasn’t a star-studded Leinster side it was still a strong one. Glasgow had done brilliantly to hold Leinster out for a possession set of over 30 phases, but Leinster eventually turned pressure into points when Rob Kearney made it a family double.

Hogg’s restart from the try was fantastically gathered by Cummings, and there was another brilliant Warriors’ score to enjoy before the half ended.

They drove and recycled quickly from the next phase, switched from forward picks to a backs move, resulting in Hastings throwing a floated pass – that would make Finn Russell purr like a cat at a rave – to Seymour.

Half-time: Leinster 12 – 18 Glasgow Warriors

Leinster had opted to kick with the wind at their backs in the first half, and when they had replaced their entire front-row at the break to include Cian Healy, Sean Cronin and Tadgh Furlong, you could sense that they were thinking of playing it a bit tighter and hoping they could dominate the set-piece and territory.

But Glasgow won a penalty at the first scrum. Hogg, with the wind at his back, kicked deep, only for Brown’s line-out to go askew. Leinster went wide and forced a penalty, so now the game was back up in the Glasgow 22. Matt Fagerson stripped it, but Hogg could only just clear his 22.

Again Leinster came, phase after phase, and again it went over 30 phases. The Warriors defended resolutely, but Leinster kept possession parsimoniously until Rob Kearney found some space to score his second try of the game. Byrne’s conversion put Leinster a point ahead.

With an hour gone on the clock, Leinster scored their bonus-point try; Dave Kearney on the scoresheet on this occasion, to make it a Kearney double-double.

The score was now 24-18 with a quarter of an hour remaining.

Hastings was having one of his “start of the season” games, his slight frame belying his strong running and fend, and it was one such break which frightened Leinster into conceding a penalty. Glasgow took the line-out, which Matt Fagerson had possession of when the maul rumbled over for the try. Hastings converted brilliantly to now give Glasgow the slenderest of leads. Which also saw the coming of Horne-ito.

The 71stmin was notable for Sean Cronin throwing a line-out from more than a foot inside the pitch, but Gibson-Park’s resulting box-kick didn’t go too far.

The brotherly try-scoring narrative was continued when Zander Fagerson was the next beneficiary of an effective Glasgow maul. That brought their own bonus point try, and more importantly, an 8-point lead with the clock running down.

As Leinster pushed back for the win, Glasgow, whose defence showed aggression, defiance and a work-rate that was so sorely missing against Saracens, won the ball back and attacked from deep. Hogg went flying away but tried to draw Larmour onto him too far rather than release the flying Horne-ito who was on his inside.

The prolific scrum-half was not to be denied his touchdown though. With the clock in the red and Leinster looking for a moment of magic to see of their season, Horne-ito timed his run perfectly to pick off Hugh O’ Sullivan’s pass for the Warriors’ fifth try and Leinster’s first home league defeat of the season.

There’s been a significant difference in pack aggression levels since the Sarries defeat. Clear-outs have been harder, carriers have been running onto the ball rather than from a static start, and even though there were some of the usual handling errors, there was a notable shift in getting over the gain-line. In defence, you just have to take a look at the stats to see what an effort was put in. Six players with over twenty tackles, Matt Fagerson over thirty, and see below for what may be a record-breaking example that we’ll need to ask Kevin Millar to look at.

Glasgow Warriors should be pretty happy with Saturday’s efforts.

Referee: Marius Mitrea (FIR)

SRBlog MotM:
Hastings was very good, he kicked well given the conditions, and his willingness to take the ball flat and run with it, in order to keep momentum going, was a big factor. Kudos again to Matt Fagerson for his all-round game, his brother Zander, Cummings and Harley were always popping up in defence, but there was one who stood above all: Jonny Gray. Was he one of the recipients of the Rennie “poke in the chest?” There was the usual defensive aptitude, plus a bit of grunt when he took the ball on. Having now just seen the updated stats on ESPN, I double-confirm this call. 43 tackles, not one missed. FORTY-THREE! That’s genuinely obscene.

15 Responses

  1. What a result for Warriors. The game was closer than the final scoreline implies, but they had a mental resilience and kept on fighting. Scored some great tries, too. Jonny Gray was immense again. Made Toner look absolutely ordinary (which, to be fair, he generally is). Hastings, Price, both Fagersons, Bhatti and Seymour were very good, too. Hoggy’s boot made a big difference.

    Think Mitrea was good (for him…), but how was SoB not given a card? His interpretation of the laws changed from the first half to the second but, in an unusual turn of events for a Scottish team, enough was done to remove him as a factor.

    Didn’t see the Edinburgh game and I won’t watch it, but Cockers needs to sort it out. Just getting Pyrgos to box kick isn’t good enough, and quite a few of the players have seemed off of late.

    1. The shoulder to the head was a definite yellow possibly a red but Mitrea bottled it. The call with the maul where the ball was on the ground with the Leinster player’s leg on it was a joke as well. Other than that I thought he was ok in the context of reffing in Ireland.

      Jonny has been superb the past two weeks. A very good lock is going to miss out but it won’t be him. I think Adam Hastings has stepped up a level recently as well, helped by Ali Price raising his game and making better decisions.

      1. I think it was a red – shoulder to the head with force and no attempt to wrap. Same as SBW against the Lions. You could argue Gray ducked into it, which would be fine if SoB had made an attempt to wrap, but as he didn’t I think a red would have been totally appropriate. We accepted it when Alex Allan got a red for a similar attempted tackle. Anyway, it didn’t affect the game, but it’s another instance of the ‘bigger’ team getting preferential treatment.

  2. According to ESPN, Jonny Gray made 41 tackles today and missed none. Back to back MoM performances. Hopefully deals with this question that has been raised re him not going to Japan.

    Whole pack made a colossal number(Matt Fagerson over 30), rest of front 5 made 24 each. Great performance and result.

  3. Great stuff from Glasgow! Showed real character, nous and skill to come back strongly after going behind after 60. Seems like Jonny Gray is being much more dynamic and forceful in attack and defence as we hoped he would.

  4. Looks like the the Gray brothers have returned to be favourites for the Scotland shirts. Skinner, Toolis and Gilchrist as choices 3, 4 and 5. Gives tghe match against Edinburgh an added motivation.

    1. Really hope that’s the case. We have a significantly higher potential with 2 Grays in the pack.

  5. Matt Fagerson making a late charge for inclusion in the RWC squad.

    I had Watson, Barclay and Wilson nailed on, with Ritchie and Bradbury joining them. If Fagerson keeps his form up he could conceivably go at Wilson, Ritchie or Bradbury’s expense but we’d risk losing experience, form and raw carrying ability so the last backrow place will be a rough call.

    Now not so sure and there is always the Blade Thompson wildcard if we ever get to see him play and he is half the player he is in Scotland fans imaginations (personally I doubt he’ll make it to Japan).

  6. Everyone is getting excited about attack , but we will need to defend next week , the semis and hopefully final. .Glasgow lost a few tries. No one was covering Dave Kearney in the first try and he finally hit heavy traffic in the 4th try but was left unmarked to gain momentum initially. Who is marshalling the backs ?

You might also like these:

The Scotland team to face Chile this weekend has been announced and features 10 changes from the side that beat the USA last weekend.
Rory watches as Scotland reach the half way point in their tour with victory over the USA in Washington.
Craig is joined by Rory and Iain to look at the latest news including Scotland's win over Canada and the upcoming test against the USA.
Gregor Townsend has picked the strongest XV possible from his touring squad for the visit to Washington DC to play the USA, writes Rory.

Scottish Rugby News and Opinion