Glasgow Warriors 15
DAVID BARNES @ Scotstoun
ALMOST exactly two hours after kick-off, Warriors finally emerged from this scrappy last home game of the season with the win that they needed to keep alive their faint hopes of making the Rainbow Cup Final. They could really have done with a bonus point but any success against opposition of the calibre of Leinster should be applauded.
Danny Wilson‘s side must now wait for next weekend when both Benetton (away to Ospreys) and Munster (away to Zebre) will look to leap-frog them into top spot of the ‘Northern’ Conference of the Rainbow Cup. Both those teams will go ahead of Warriors if they manage any sort of win.
It was an entertaining enough match in a gritty sort of way, with plenty of physicality, flash-points and even some flowing passages of rugby. Regardless of whether the result will be enough to give the Scotstoun boys the chance to shoot for some silverware in two weeks’ time, this first win over Leinster in six attempts should be savoured, and provides further proof that recent reports of the team’s demise under Wilson were grossly exaggerated.
“Just outstanding from my point of view,” was Wilson’s appraisal afterwards. “The boys rocked up again with huge emotion and were really physical. We set our minds on beating Leinster, and to finish the main part of the season like that is an outstanding reflection of how these boys have really turned a corner in the last four or five weeks.”
Warriors started in lively fashion with Cole Forbes finding himself in space on the right after just two minutes, but the Kiwi winger couldn’t quite escape Leinster’s cover defence, and his offload back inside to Nick Grigg didn’t quite go to hand.
There was a ‘captain’s challenge’ from Fraser Brown for a potentially dangerous tackle on Warriors’ centre Sam Johnson which was dismissed by referee Frank Murphy – although it appeared that he and the Television Match Official may have looked at the wrong incident. The sooner this law trial is kicked to touch the better.
Glasgow set up camp on Leinster’s line, and after several minutes of pressure the hosts got their reward when Matt Fagerson burrowed over for the opening try, and Ross Thompson fired home the conversion for good measure, making him the fastest player to reach 100 points in a Glasgow jersey.
Leinster bounced right back with an impressive passage of play which combined pace, power and good hands, leading to Luke McGrath touching down under the posts, with Ross Byrne adding the extras.
Having built up a fair old head of steam, Leinster thought they had taken the lead on 23 minutes when a long period of pressure against 14 Warriors – Sam Johnson was being treated for what appeared to be a head knock – eventually led to full-back Hugo Keenan stepping past Thompson and darting home. However, the TMO spotted a knock-on by the visitors during the build-up.
But the Dubliners kept the pressure on and were aided by Warriors losing Cole Forbes to the sin-bin for an early tackle. A few minutes later, Cian Kelleher scurried down the wing where Forbes should have been positioned to grab his team’s second try.
That was a setback, but Warriors were up for this one, and they spent the final 10 minutes of the first half bombarding the Leinster line – although they couldn’t find a way through, so went in at the break five points down.
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Keenan had a second try chalked off after five minutes of the second half because Andrew Porter obstructed Rob Harley as he closed in on the Leinster full-back in midfield, and Warriors went straight back up field for a try from Kyle Steyn, created by some slick handling by Forbes and Adam Hastings. It did look like the final pass from Hastings had floated forward, but after a look at the video, Murphy was satisfied that the ball had been released backwards.
The home side were reduced to 14 men for a second 10-minute period when Ryan Wilson was sin-bin for a neck roll on Porter as the game got increasingly bad-tempered. There were several flare-ups between the two sets of players throughout the match, with Hastings – who was sent off in Dublin the last time the sides met – usually right in the middle of it.
Despite being a man down, Warriors dominated the next five minutes, and edged into the lead with quarter of an hour to go when Porter went off his feet at a ruck. Thompson firing home the three points.
That was enough to secure a well-deserved win – Glasgow’s fate is now in Benetton and Munster’s hands.
Glasgow Warriors: A Hastings; K Steyn, N Grigg, S Johnson (S McDowall 23), C Forbes ( N Matawalu 64); R Thompson, G Horne; A Seiuli (T Lambert 58), F Brown (G Turner 54), E Pieretto (D Rae 70), R Harley (K McDonald 47), S Cummings, R Wilson, R Darge (T Gordon 48), M Fagerson.
Leinster: H Keenan; C Kelleher (J Larmour 66), G Ringrose, R O’Loughlin, J O’Brien; R Byrne, L McGrath; E Byrne (P Dooley 55), R Kelleher (D Sheehan 70), M Bent (A Porter 46), R Molony, J Ryan, J Murphy (R Baird 56), J van der Flier (S Penny 75), C Doris.
Referee: Frank Murphy (IRFU)
Glasgow Warriors: Tries: Fagerson, Steyn; Cons: Thompson; Pen: Thompson.
Leinster: Tries: McGrath, Kelleher; Cons: R Byrne.
Scoring sequence (Glasgow Warriors first): 5-0; 7-0; 7-5; 7-7; 7-12 (h-t) 12-12; 15-12
Yellow cards –
Glasgow Warriors: Forbes (27mins), Wilson (54mins)
Leinster: O’Loughlin (4omins)