Leinster v Glasgow: leaders prove too strong again for error-prone Warriors

Franco Smith
Glasgow coach Franco Smith. Image: ©INPHO/Craig Watson.

Leinster 40

Glasgow 5

LET’s start with the positives. This defeat, although heavy enough, was a different beast altogether from the last time that the Warriors visited the RDS. Back in June they conceded a dozen tries in the 76-14 defeat that cost Danny Wilson his job. This afternoon they ‘only’ let in six.

But while any improvement is welcome, Franco Smith understandably insisted that the contrast between those two games was no consolation. The main concern for the current head coach is that, while his team’s home form has been very good, they are unable to produce anything similar on the road.

This was a tenth consecutive away defeat for Smith’s side, whose last win which was not at Scotstoun took place way back in January. And perhaps the most galling thing about it was that at no stage did they ever look like ending that unwanted run of results.

“I think we played literally against ourselves,” the coach said. “I said to the guys that we didn’t get beaten – we lost.

“We gave away six consecutive penalties in the first half which gave them field position, and they converted four of those. That was really disappointing.

“Then later in the first half we breached their defence regularly. We got close to their line but there was always that little bit of an error in the offload that stopped us getting the try that we needed.

“Unfortunately there are some old habits and beliefs that get stuck. But we’ve got a lot of plans that we’re making. It’s going to be one game to turn it round – and hopefully we can get it next week away to Zebre.

“I don’t want to call it a psychological plan, because I think it’s sometimes misinterpreted by the public. We want to get out there and develop skill sets – and also mental skill sets to handle the pressure and help us play better away from home.”

Leinster were 21-0 up and firmly in control by midway through the first half after a try from Dave Kearney and two from Rob Russell, all converted by Ross Byrne. In all three of those scores they produced some punch and penetration in midfield, then spread the ball wide where the wingers were either in space or able to create some. In the case of Russell’s tries, George Horne and Rufus McLean, Glasgow’s lightest players, were left as the last line of defence.

However, after scoring at a point a minute during that opening onslaught, Leinster did not have things all their own way during the middle segment of the match, and the Warriors got a try back five minutes into the second half when winger Sebastian Cancelliere finished off after an excellent break by Alex Samuel.

The try came just after Ronan Kelleher had been yellow-carded for cynically landing on the wrong side of a ruck to slow the ball down, but once restored to 15 men, Leinster resumed the offensive, and ran in three further tries in the closing 25 minutes.

Michael Milne got the bonus try, Russell completed his hat-trick, and John McKee got their sixth two minutes from time. Ross Byrne converted Milne’s try, then younger brother Harry took over, adding the extras to McKee’s score after missing the Russell conversion.

Leinster had rested key men such as Tadhg Furlong and newly-crowned world player of the year Josh van der Flier, but they were still far too strong for Glasgow, whose coach insisted he is eager to build a squad at Scotstoun as deep as the Dublin side has.

“It’s tough playing against a team like Leinster who have a squad prepared for Europe and one for the URC,” Smith added. “We’re heading that way – we want to develop our squad’s strength in depth. 

“We’re definitely going to learn from the errors that we made. Four of their tries were turnovers when we had the ball – that’s something we can control.

“I’m really, really positive, and I feel with the character of the team we can use what we’ve experienced tonight in our favour next week away to Zebre.”

Teams –

Leinster: J Osborne; R Russell, L Turner, C Ngatai (H Byrne 41), D Kearney; R Byrne (C Cosgrave 71), L McGrath (C Foley 60); E Byrne (M Milne 51), R Kelleher (J McKee 66), T Clarkson (V Abdaladze 51), R Molony, J McCarthy (J Jenkins 51), R Ruddock (captain, R Baird 51), S Penny, M Deegan. 

Glasgow Warriors: J McKay; S Cancelliere, K Steyn (captain), S McDowall, R McLean (R Thompson 56, E Ferrie 74); T Jordan, G Horne (J Dobie 68); O Kebble (J Bhatti 56), F Brown (J Matthews 56), M Walker (S Berghan 56), S Manjezi, A Samuel (J du Preez 56), G Brown (L Bean 66), S Vailanu, J Dempsey. 

Scorers – 

Leinster: Tries: Kearney, Russell 3, Milne, McKee. Cons: R Byrne 4, H Byrne. 

Glasgow: Try: Cancelliere.

Scoring sequence (Leinster first): 5-0, 7-0, 12-0, 14-0, 19-0, 21-0 half-time, 21-5, 26-5, 28-5, 33-5, 38-5, 40-5.

Yellow card: Leinster: Kelleher 45.

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa).


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THE OFFSIDE LINE'S coverage of Glasgow Warriors is powered by MCCREA FINANCIAL SERVICES.

McCrea Financial Services sponsor Glasgow Warriors and provide a wide range of financial advisory services including mortgage, pension and retirement planning advice. See www.mccreafs.co.uk to contact them for more information.
About Stuart Bathgate 1213 Articles
Stuart has been the rugby correspondent for both The Scotsman and The Herald, and was also The Scotsman’s chief sports writer for 14 years from 2000.


  1. I was ‘treated’ to attend this game at the RDS. As an earlier comment we had more possession but didn’t have the discipline to go through the phases. We had at least three occasions when we had a man over but failed to make the final pass.
    Leinster are very well coached and their defence is immaculate. Their pressure caused a lot of our mistakes but when we won the scrums you would hope that this could turn into points. We also failed to find touch three times from a penalty kick which is inexcusable.
    I disagree that Horne had a good game. I remarked to my son that he is not fit enough – he was blowing as early as the first half – and he too often got isolated. I was impressed with Samuel who looks a good prospect.

  2. When Leinster got a hold of the ball they made it count. When they didn’t have the ball they made it count. That’s the difference.

    We can’t get over the line & we cant kick in away games it seems.

    The Leinster ‘A’ team is not valid either. Leinster have consistency throughout their squad in how they approach things. Their performances rarely dip regardless of international windows.

    If we take Leinster vs. Glasgow on stats across the season so far the difference is obvious. 221 points scored to our 164 – we simply can’t convert hard work into points when it matters. We need to be clinical. All the other stats bar metres gained are pretty similar.

  3. I didn’t see the game but I checked the stats on the URC website. You would have thought Glasgow were the better team. They had 60% possession and territory and Leinster made almost double the tackles. yet reading the report and the live thread it felt like Leinster scored almost every time they were on the attack at the start and end of the game, Not sure what to make of the stats – normally you would expect to win with these stats but I can only assume it shows our lack of cutting edge and there superior defence. Funny old business statistics.

    • on the stats, no wonder you’re confused!
      Glasgow had a really poor start conceding 2 tries before anyone broke sweat, then a third after a terrible piece of defending by McLean. 21-0 in even time
      From there until the last 3 tries (chasing the game) Glasgow were on top and the better side; except unable to convert pressure and breaks into points, which kind of matters.
      Convert a couple of chances and its a different game, even from 21-0 down
      But really have to have better focus at the start

  4. Effectively both sides A team, however we are still a long way behind Leinster main ,A or B. They are a team who play their system very well no matter who is in the team and they all make few mistakes. Glasgow are not the team they were in 2015 or 2019 most of the big teams just read them to easily, even the biased Irish commentators yesterday were reading them and were disappointed how poor they were. Good games from Horne and Cancelliere and a stinker from Mathews and Manjezi.

  5. So reduced the deficit from May but still second best by a big margin. Just not good enough to compete with what was effectively the Leinster ‘A’ team. Yes missing internationals but still a very poor performance. Silly mistakes in abundance.

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