Glasgow v Leinster: Warriors brought down to earth with a bump

Danny Wilson's side struggle to cope with relentless physicality of opponents

Glasgow Warriors stand0off Duncan Weir is smashed in the tackle by two Leinster players. Image:: © Craig Watson -
Glasgow Warriors stand0off Duncan Weir is smashed in the tackle by two Leinster players. Image:: © Craig Watson -

Glasgow Warriors 15

Leinster 31

DAVID BARNES @ Scotstoun

DANNY WILSON was disappointed but not despondent after watching his team’s promising start to the season unravel when they came up well short against a typically abrasive and relentless Leinster performance.

“They are a good side, there is no doubt about that, but you give them a 10-0 start then you know you are going to be up against it,” said the Warriors head coach. “Our first defensive set was poor and we got marched up the pitch. We spoke all week about how you have to be physical and win collisions against this team and we didn’t do that tonight.

“You can’t come off second in that physical battle against Leinster because that means they get speed of ball which they are absolutely lethal with. And we were trying to play off too much slow ball, which doesn’t suit us.”

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“So, there are lost of learnings and I said to the boys afterwards that that’s the level we want to be at. They are the best team in the league. They are the champions. So, it is a tough lesson tonight but we have to look at it and say: ‘How do we get more like that performance in the last game of last season [when Warriors beat Leinster]?’

“We had far more entries into their 22 than they had into ours, but we got turned over too many times. And on the other side, we weren’t physical enough defensively in the first half.”

Warriors now face a frustrating five weeks out of action while the Autumn Test window plays out before they get a chance to get this disappointing defeat out of their system with a trip to Benetton on 27th November.

“There are lots of positives from this first block of games. I’m relatively happy with the 15 league points we have collected, picking up two bonus points in Ulster and winning three games, but I’m disappointed that we didn’t get anything out of it tonight,” said Wilson. “If wr can come back and beat Treviso and the Dragons then we’ll get back into the top four, and that’s where we want to be.”

The good news from a Scottish rugby perspective is that there did not appear to be any serious injury concerns ahead of the internationalists in the squad beginning their build-up to next Saturday’s opening Autumn Test against Tonga, although Rory Darge did pick up a knee knock.

“Rory was struggling a little bit, I could tell he wasn’t quite as sharp as he has been, but I’m sure he’ll be fine,” said Wilson.


Ross Byrne edged the visitors into a fifth minute lead with a successful 40-yarder after Zander Fagerson was penalised for taking out Leinster scrum-half Luke McGrath.

And the Dubliners stretched their scoreboard advantage to 10 points just two minutes later when Dan Leavy and Adam Byrne combined to release Ronan Kelleher up the right touchline. The hooker brushed off Johnny Matthews, stepped inside Ross Thompson and carried Rufus McLean over the line – with Ross Byrne adding the touchline conversion.

A powerful burst from Sione Tuipuloto put Warriors into the Leinster 22 for the first time on 10 minutes, and Thompson got the hosts off the mark with a straight-forward penalty from in front of the sticks.

Warriors then enjoyed a period of pressure but kept coughing up possession when they got inside the strike zone. Leinster, meanwhile, were ruthless when they next got back on the front foot, building pressure with several powerful phases, then claiming try number two when James Lowe sent Hugo Keenan home.

Warriors threatened with three minutes left in the first half when Sam Johnson put Tuipuloto through a gap straight off scrum ball. The return pass was juggled but Johnson managed to slap the ball in the direction of Thompson who was collided with opposite number Keenan as they stretched to retrieve possession. The Warriors man went sprawling, and referee Craig Evans decided to have a second look via the TMO, before deciding that a try – and not a penalty try – was the appropriate punishment.

There was some graceless booing from the Scotstoun crowd after that decision, but, in fact, Warriors were perhaps lucky to get the penalty. It meant they could keep the pressure on, and after Leinster No8 Jack Conan was sent to the sinbin for playing the ball on the deck, Australian No 8 Jack Dempsey powered over from close range, with Thompson’s conversion making it 17-10 at the break.


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It took a brilliant last-gasp tackle from Darge to stop a third Leinster score on the left after great work from Keenan with 10 minutes of the second half played, but it was only a temporary reprieve for the Warriors, and Leinster claimed try number three just two-minutes later when Adam Byrne managed to get the ball down under pressure from Johnson.

After another bombardment of the Warriors line, the visitors picked up the bonus point on the hour mark through replacement hooker Dan Sheehan.

Warriors kept plugging away, and McLean did well to put George Horne into space, but Leinster got back to snuff out the threat then snaffle possession.

The fact that a group of home fans in the main stand were trying to initiate a Mexican wave with 15 minutes still to play illustrated that this game was already over as a contest.

Replacement scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park was the second Leinster player to be yellow-carded when he shoved opposite number Horne with two minutes to go. Visiting head coach Leo Cullen expressed disappointment afterwards at the Warriors player’s theatrical reaction. He may have had a point.

Replacement second-row Lewis Bean’s last-minute try gave the home fans something to celebrate at the end – but it was a muted cheer.


Teams –

Glasgow Warriors (v Leinster at the Scotstoun Stadium, Friday 7.35pm British time): R Thompson; K Steyn, S Tuipulotu (N Grigg 71), S Johnson, R McLean; D Weir (C Forbes 56), A Price (G Horne 54); J Bhatti (O Kebble 46), J Matthews (G Turner 41), Z Fagerson (E Pieretto 54), R Harley (L Bean 76), R Gray, R Wilson, R Darge (M Fagerson 63), R Wilson.

Leinster: H Keenan; A Byrne, G Ringrose (J Osborne, 70), C Frawley, J Lowe; R Byrne, L McGrath (J Gibson-Park, 63); C Healy (E Byrne 54), R Kelleher (D Sheehan 54), T Furlong (M Ala’alatoa 54), R Molony, R Baird ( D Toner 50), C Doris (R Ruddock 67), D Leavy (J van der Flier 50), J Conan.

Referee: Craig Evans (WRU)


Scorers –

Glasgow Warriors: Try: Dempsey, Bean; Con: Thompson; Pen: Thompson.

Leinster: Tries: Kelleher, Keenan, A Byrne, Sheehan; Cons: R Byrne 4; Pen: R Byrne

Scoring sequence (Glasgow first): 0-3; 0-8; 0-10; 3-10; 3-15; 3-17; 8-17; 10-17 (h-t) 10-22; 10-24; 10-29; 10-31; 15-31


Yellow cards –

Leinster: Conan (37mins), Gibson-Park (79mins)


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About David Barnes 3908 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.


  1. Leinster are very well coached and all 15 players can run with the ball. It is no disgrace to lose to such a powerful team. However Glasgow tried to play them at their own game instead of going wide and going through the phases. Easier said than done against a side who excelled at slowing the ball down.
    Glasgow are a relatively young side and it is a surprise and a disappointment that they have not recruited a second row. I thought Bean looked ready for the contest and wonder why he was not in the original side from the off? is he unfit?
    I am a fan of Turner but I agree with the comment that too often he was isolated and got turned over. I don’t think the referees are pinning the new ‘latching’ rule by the way.

    • Glasgow have 3 locks injured. Bain, but more importantly Cummings and McDonald are both in the 23 every week for me. Bean is very good in the close carrying stakes but for all his height isn’t used in the lineout, is a poor open field carrier (for a lock), and a just that bit slow in regrouping, back on feet back in the line.

      Glasgow’s problem wasn’t so much playing them at their own game as trying to go wide too early too often – did not earn the right as the old adage goes. Leinster did not commit to the breakdown (unless they saw a clear opportunity) but fanned out, leaving their defence strung out and often outnumbering the Glasgow attack. Glasgow needed to drive at the fringe, pick and go through the middle, rinse and repeat until they get a bit more sucked in.
      Reality is Leinster are an excellently coached team with a great system and every player this week making excellent individual decisions – rather than being just being better players.

  2. A real comment on where we are, sadly not even Close to Leinster. They are the Champions and will almost certainly get into the play off section of the Champions cup. 2-3 years ago we were close to them, today it is Leinster, Ulster Munster and then the rest of the URC though the SA teams with their boks back may be the surprise at the end of the season. Realistically to compete, each of our pro teams need another 2-3 million per season for the right recruitment and retention – goodness only knows where that will come from! It’s really sad when a very poor Worcester is preferable to Edinburgh. You can understand Racing, Exeter, Quins and even Gloucester.

    • If it’s unrealistic for a team such as Glasgow to raise an additional 2-3 million per season, then is it worth considering a salary cap for the league? That would create a more even playing field that would favour the teams that are best managed, developed and coached, rather than those that can fund the largest squads / afford the best signings.
      I don’t know what the operating budgets are for the different teams in the URC, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Leinster sat at the top, with Munster and Ulster close behind.

      • The challenge is if you apply a cap you’ll accelerate the move of the best players to England and France where they will be paid more. Who can blame them, it’s a short career which can end abruptly through injury at any time. I hope Finn, Grey, Hoggy etc are carefully stashing money away for their futures.

      • We could analyse the Leinster approach to engagement with schools/clubs, identification of talent and development. That won’t cost 2-3million or require a salary cap just time. Oops we don’t have that.

  3. No disgrace to loss to Leinster, they are a machine of a team.
    However IMO mistake to play Weir, at this level his slow feet and mind are magnified. Forbes at 15 and Thompson at 10 would’ve been better. Likely Wouldn’t have changed the result but…….
    McLean looks a real player and Darge empathised his burgeoning potential. dempster and Johnson did well too.

  4. Does Fagerson now offer more at 6 than Wilson (captaincy excepted) Like the look of a back row of Fagerson/Darge/Dempsey!

  5. Credit to Leinster for a thoroughly professional display and they have really big aggressive forwards in huge numbers.We have lacked a similar beast since Josh Strauss and not sure why our recruitment policy has failed miserably in not attracting this type of player. We have injuries as all clubs do but Harley is too passive and limited ability and you pair him with Ritchie Gray who performs in line outs but nowhere else and you will always struggle.

  6. Your description of the incident at the end of the first half is poor
    I agree it was difficult but Keenan arrived late in jumping into Thomson and his forearm hit Thomson’s face
    Players have been sent off fo less

  7. As I feared another pummelling from Leinster. They are just a notch above us all round and we are probably further behind them than a couple of seasons ago when we played them in the final. We did have a fair share of possession but their defence is suffocating and we really didn’t make many breaks, As Router has said we are not clinical enough when we get in their 22 and we lost a couple of turnovers near their line. Turner is a great dynamic player but twice he charged into 3 Leinster players with no support and got turned over. A few little things like this could make the difference but you need to be flawless to beat Leinster.

  8. ouch that was a painful night at the office for Glasgow. We won hard fought feet they made yards. Leinster snuffed out attack after attack with an impressive 3 man tackle which stopped us in our tracks.We kept getting into the red zone and coming away with nothing, it’s been a problem all season so far.Not sure why we are playing Thompson at 15 but his inexperience was exposed last night along with some way ward kicking.
    Thought Dempsey was excellent and the Johnson/Tuipulotu axis kept the Leinster backs
    contained, however that just let the Leinster forwards excel.We are not there yet Leinster are and they are way more street wise than us.

  9. We were second best in almost every tackle – going backwards 90% of the time. Dempsey, Tuipulotu and Tuner showed up well. The rest of the team need to take a hard look at themselves. I didnt think that we would win this but did expect a bit of attitude – particularly at home. Not good.


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