Glasgow Warriors 19
GLASGOW’s unbeaten record in 2020 was shattered at the RDS as Leinster continued on their apparently invincible way. The PRO14 champions have now had 19 victories from 19 games this season, and that run was never in danger of being brought to an end in this Conference A clash.
Lock Ryan Baird and winger Dave Kearney both scored hat-tricks, James Lowe got two and captain Scott Fardy claimed one as Leinster went over the half-century. The Warriors battled to the end in the quest for a try bonus after Tommy Seymour, Kyle Steyn and Alex Allan had crossed, but this was a sobering reminder of the gulf that exists between Leinster and the other teams in the conference.
Glasgow will drop out of the top three if Cheetahs win at Dragons tomorrow (Saturday), and the only real consolation to be taken from the game is that they now have three weeks in which to regroup before their next match, a visit to Ospreys. Their willingness to play fast and lose can be their most appealing virtue, but here it was once again their most costly vice.
Dave Rennie’s side went behind in four minutes after being pinned back inside their own 22 from the kick-off. Their attempt to run the ball from deep foundered when they knocked on, Leinster got a big push on from the scrum, and after Joe Tomane made good ground, Baird finished off from close range.
Harry Byrne converted, and Leinster were soon back on the attack as they tried to ram home their early advantage. They did so with less than a dozen minutes played, with Kearney scoring in the right corner from a long pass by Byrne after the forwards had parked on the Warriors line for several phases.
Glasgow’s first attack of the game ended in a Seymour knock-on, but the fact they had been able to get on the front foot was an encouraging sign after those early setbacks. So too was the improved showing in the scrums, and from one just outside the home 22 they got their opening score, with Seymour cutting inside on an excellent angle to burst through the defence. Peter Horne added the two points.
After a lengthy lull in the high tempo with which they had begun the game, Leinster quickly upped the pace, and got their third try 10 minutes from half-time. A couple of rapid passes down the line created space for Lowe on the left wing, and he easily outstripped any would-be defenders, leaving Byrne an easy conversion.
A dozen-point deficit would have been tough enough for the Warriors to take into the second half, but it became 17 with the clock in the red just after the injured Tim Swinson had been replaced by Andrew Davidson. A penalty was sent to touch inside the Glasgow 22, and although the initial maul was held up, the attack resumed, and Fardy finished off from a few metres out. Byrne was off target with the conversion attempt, but that still left Rennie’s side with a massive task in the second half.
They set about that task in spirited fashion, and within minutes Steyn grabbed their second try, a near carbon copy of Lowe’s, with Ryan Wilson’s sleight of hand setting the winger free. Horne missed the kick, Seymour limped off and was replaced by Niko Matawalu, and before Glasgow had a chance to go in search of a third try, Lowe got his own second and Leinster’s fifth. Tomane put the winger away down the left, and although both Steyn and Huw Jones chased him down before he reached the line, Lowe’s momentum carried him over.
The highly impressive Baird soon followed with his own second, breaking through from just inside the Glasgow half to touch down behind the posts. Byrne converted this time, and at 36-12 with 25 minutes to play any hope the visitors had of mounting a comeback was well and truly dead.
With quarter of an hour left, Baird completed his hat-trick after another relentless passage of play. Allan got one back after good work by Matawalu and Jamie Dobie, and Ruaridh Jackson converted, but Kearney had the last word for Leinster. He squeezed over in the right corner for his second of the night, and then completed his hat-trick by latching on to a loose pass behind his own line by Jones. Ciaran Frawley converted both.
Leinster: H Keenan; D Kearney, J O’Brien, J Tomane, J Lowe; H Byrne, L McGrath; P Dooley, S Cronin, M Bent, R Baird, S Fardy (captain), J Murphy, W Connors, M Deegan. Substitutes: J Tracy, M Milne, J Aungier, J Dunne, R Ruddock, J Gibson-Park, C Frawley, F McFadden.
Glasgow: G Bryce; T Seymour, H Jones, N Grigg, K Steyn; P Horne, G Horne; A Seiuli, G Turner, D Rae, T Swinson, R Harley, R Wilson (captain), T Gordon, M Fagerson. Substitutes: M Dolokoto, A Allan, E Mcquillin, A Davidson, C Gibbins, J Dobie, R Jackson, N Matawalu.
Referee: N Owens (Wales).
Leinster: Tries: Baird 3, Kearney 3, Lowe 2, Fardy. Cons: Byrne 3, Frawley 2.
Glasgow: Tries: Seymour, Steyn, Allan. Cons: P Horne, Jackson.
Scoring sequence (Leinster first): 5-0, 7-0, 12-0, 12-5, 12-7, 17-7, 19-7, 24-7 half-time, 24-12, 29-12, 34-12, 36-12, 41-12, 41-17, 41-19, 46-19, 48-19, 53-19, 55-19.