Glasgow Warriors 14
DAVID BARNES @ RDS Arena
EXPECTATIONS weren’t high for Glasgow Warriors going into this match but very few people, if anyone, could have anticipated that it would go as badly as it did. The visitors started brightly to take an early lead through a Zander Fagerson try, converted by Ross Thompson, and stayed in front until the 14th minute. But then Richie Gray picked up a yellow-card when his shoulder made contact with Leinster scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park’s jaw at a ruck, and thereafter it was a horror show for Danny Wilson’s side, who coughed up 12 tries in total and it could easily have been more.
This was the team’s heaviest defeat in any competition since they were hammered 90-19 by Leicester Tigers in the Heineken Cup in 1997, and the only other time they have lost by a wider margin was when they were smashed 76-9 against AS Montferrand in 1996. Warriors have now lost five games on the bounce, with the last two performances in particular – this and the 28-11 capitulation to Edinburgh a fortnight ago – setting alarm bells ringing.
There is no doubt Leinster are a top-quality side, even when missing a number of front-liners as was the case here, but the way the wheels came off in this match is totally unacceptable. It was humiliating for anyone associated with the club, the sort of performance and outcome which inevitably leads to heads rolling in professional sport.
“We all take responsibility for this game,” said shellshocked head coach Wilson when asked about how this performance might impact his own position. “I do believe we were on the right track and our results over the season were better than last season. We’ve had some big wins this season, but that is what is going ot be on everyone’s minds fo the next few months.
“I understand how that feels for everybody,” he added. “I can assure you that everyone in the changing room is fully aware that we’ve let a lot of people down with our performance today. In our last two games we’ve dropped off a cliff.
“It’s extremely, extremely disappointing. It’s an unacceptable scoreline and an unacceptable performance. The players have said the same and every single one of us has to take responsibility – me, ultimately, and everyone involved in what was out there today.”
Leinster kicked to touch following Gray’s carding and then motored the line-out drive home with hooker Dan Sheehan claiming the try, then Thompson sent the restart out on the full and winger Jordan Armour swept in for a scond score in as many minutes straight from the scrum on halfway, and then some pretty passive defence led to second-row Joe McCarthy bulldozing in for try number three just before Warriors returned to full strength.
Warriors did manage to rally briefly, and came close to pulling a try back when Gregor Brown peeled off a line-out drive and wrestle over the line, but man-of-the-match Larmour managed to snaffle possession before the ball was grounded. That proved to be the last time Glasgow were really in the contest, with Sheehan getting his second and his team’s fourth try off another driven line-out with just over a minute of the half remaining.
If it had been a boxing match, the towel would have been in already, but Glasgow had not place to hide and Leinster – smarting from last weekend’s Heineken Cup Final defeat to La Rochelle – were in no mood for showing mercy. Home No 8 Caelan Doris claimed try number five with just four minutes of the second half played, before Ollie Smith was yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on with Leinster players lining up on the left to finish off what would have been try number six.
Just as happened in the first half, Leinster scored three tries during their time with an extra man, with replacement tight-head Michael Ala’alatoa next on the scoresheet, quickly followed by Gibson-Park and then centre Garry Ringrose.
“We conceded 40 points during two yellow card.. We can’t be playing Leinster with 14 men for any period. You cannot be passive against Leinster. We sat off them because we were numbers down. The first yellow card killed us and the second killed us as well,” reflected Wilson afterwards, which might well be true but hardly makes this any easier to swallow.
There was a brief respite for Glasgow when Leinster cleared their bench and Sione Tuipulotu followed by Rufus McLean and Kiran McDonald capitalised on a dip in home focus to streak up field, leading to a second try for the visitors which was scored by George Horne, but normal service quickly resumed when Larmour scored again to make it 57-14.
Thereafter, it descended into high farce, with Ciaran Frawley picking off a slack Smith pass on halfway and cantering home, Luke McGrath scoring a try which was almost as easy just a minute later’s try a minute later was almost as easy, and Jimmy O’Brien piled the final dollop of misery on top of Glasgow when he claimed try number 12 with four minutes left to play.
“We fell apart at the end with conceding more tries,” said Wilson. “It’s very hard, very painful at the moment. We need to look at that and improve dramatically going into next season.”
Leinster: J O’Brien; J Larmour, G Ringrose (R Henshaw 58), C Frawley, R O’Loughlin; R Byrne (H Byrne 66), J Gibson-Park (L McGrath 58); A Porter (C Healy 58) D Sheehan (S Cronin, 58), R Furlong (M Ala’alatoa 43), J McCarthy, J Ryan (R Molony 58), R Baird, J van der Flier (J Conan 59), C Doris.
Glasgow Warriors: O Smith; J McKay, S Tuipulotu, S Johnson, R McLean; R Thompson (D Miotti. 68), A Price (G Horne 49); J Bhatti (O Kebble 49), G Turner (F Brown 41), Z Fagerson (S Berghan 49), R Harley (L Bean 59), R Gray, R Wilson (K McDonald 59), G Brown (T Gordon 62), J Dempsey.
Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy)
Leinster: Tries: Sheehan 2, Larmour 2, McCarthy, Doris, Ala’alatoa, Gibson-Park, Ringrose, Frawley, McGrath, O’Brien; Con: R Byrne 6, H Byrne 2.
Glasgow Warriors: Tries: Fagerson, Horne; Con: Thompson 2.
Scoring sequence (Leinster first): 0-5; 0-7; 5-7; 7-7; 12-7; 14-7; 19-7; 21-7; 26-7 (h-t) 31-7; 33-7; 38-7; 40-7; 45-7; 47-7; 52-7; 52-12; 52-14; 57-14; 62-14; 64-14; 69-14; 71-14; 76-14.
Yellow cards –
Glasgow Warriors: Gray (14mins), Smith (46mins)
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