PRO14 Grand Final: Glasgow Warriors player ratings – versus Leinster

A frustrating evening for Dave Rennie's team as they come up short against a powerful and well-drilled opposition at Celtic Park

Matt Fagerson
Matt Fagerson in action in the PRO14 final in May. Image: © Craig Watson.

15. Stuart Hogg – 6 out of 10

Not the end to his magnificent Warriors career he was hoping for. His Exocet right boot was key for Warriors during the early aerial battle, but then disaster struck when his lackadaisical clearance straight from the restart after the opening score was charged down to gift Garry Ringrose the try which brought Leinster right back into it. Showed his trademark tenacity as he battled to make amends, until he was taken out of the game by Rob Kearney’s reckless challenge in the air.

14. Tommy Seymour– 6 out of 10

Leaped majestically to gather one kick-off. Always looked for work and generally got over the gain-line. Not much he could do when he went back to gather a kick through and was manhandled over his own line by a couple of burly Leinster players, meaning that Warriors ended up conceding a scrum-five.

13. Kyle Steyn – 7 out of 10

Twice in the first half, he powered his way out of unpromising situations in midfield to open Leinster up, on the second occasion creating the platform for Hastings to stretch Warriors into a 10-5 lead. Found himself isolated and lost the ball in contact as Glasgow pressed early in the second half, and although he initially did well to got back to make the cover tackle in his own 22 he then earned himself a yellow-card for preventing a quick recycle by not rolling away, meaning his team were down for a crucial ten minutes during the third quarter – although Warriors did well to ensure Leinster were restricted the three-points during this period. Will by annoyed at himself for fumbling a high ball late on which didn’t help Glasgow as they battled to rescue the game.

12. Sam Johnson – 6 out of 10

A tough nut in the middle of the park. Not much gets past him, and with ball in hand he has the ability to both distribute or ask questions himself, but there was no way through here. Picked up a leg injury early in the second-half and was replaced by Peter Horne.

11. DTH van der Merwe – 5 out of 10

Struggled under the high ball early on and appeared to become a bit of a target. Got one sniff on the left during the first half, but Leinster’s quickly swallowed him up.

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10. Adam Hastings – 6 out of 10

Became increasingly frustrated as Warriors struggled to prise open Leinster’s watertight defence, and perhaps started to force things a bit more than was prudent. But his physical and mental courage means that he is a player who will always worry the opposition from the first minute to the last.

9. Ali Price – 6 out of 10

Kept the tempo up and his eye open for gaps round the edges, but not much doing against Leinster’s well-marshalled defence, before being replaced by George Horne on 57 minutes.

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1. Jamie Bhatti – 6 out of 10

He’s off to Edinburgh next season which, given that Oli Kebble was fit for this match but could only command a place on the bench, is a curious but of business from Glasgow. The joys of having two pro teams owned by one governing body, with all major issues managed by head office. Was frustrated when he lost his footing to concede a scrum penalty which allowed Sexton to make it 10-15 to the Irishmen at the break. Showed up well around the park.

2. Fraser Brown – 5 out of 10

Was in real distress from an ankle injury when he was stretchered off on the half hour, but looked a bit more relaxed when he returned pitch-side (with a heavily bandaged limb) after the break to watch the remainder of the contest. Rode his luck early on. Gave away one penalty in front of the posts, which Sexton uncharacteristically fluffed; then, after an undercooked line-out, he tried to retrieve the situation by clobbering Luke McGrath, who didn’t even have the ball, and on a different day the hooker could very easily have seen yellow.

3. Zander Fagerson – 7 out of 10

Given some the issues Glasgow had at scrum time when their first choice tight-head was out injured for five months earlier this season, it is not a stretch to state Fagerson is their most important player. Won a huge scrum penalty as Leinster looked to kill the game off around the hour mark, and was as combative and industrious as ever around the park during his 66 minutes before being replaced by Siosiua Halanukonuka.

4. Scott Cummings – 7 out of 10

Beaten to the ball at an early line-out but generally sound. A massive shift in the loose, especially when coming onto the ball at pace to ask questions of Leinster’s inside defence.

5. Jonny Gray – 7 out of 10

Responsible for the line-out steel which ultimately led to Matt Fagerson scrambling over for the opening try with just under a quarter of the game played. Had one bad dropped ball early in the second half, but generally another fine performance in keeping with his strong recent form.

6. Rob Harley – 6 out of 10

Mr Reliable in terms of work-rate and willingness to put his body on the line, but twice fumbled the ball to derail Warriors momentum in the first half, which is catastrophic against a team like Leinster. Replaced by Ryan Wilson on 51 minutes.

7. Callum Gibbins – 6 out of 10

The rugged New Zealander battered ferociously for the 78 minutes he was on the park, and was a large part of the reason why Leinster were never fully able to relax, even when they dominated large chunks of the second half with some relentless one-out rugby.

8. Matt Fagerson – 8 out of 10

A massive effort on both sides of the ball. Powered over for Warriors’ early try, and made a huge tackle on Sean Cronin at the start of the second half, which were just two highlights of an all-action display. Was the game’s top tackler with 27.

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16. Grant Stewart – 6

Played 55 minutes. Just over three years ago, he was at Glasgow Hawks in the Premiership, hoping to establish himself at 1st XV level, having failed to establish himself in the SRU Academy structure. In this match the industrious hooker brought almost 50,000 supporters to their feet when he showed his deceptive pace to scuttle home from 20-yards to snatch Warriors a lifeline with just less than five minutes to play. His line-out darts, which have been questioned at time, were pretty accurate. Had one or two handling errors, but didn’t let that break his stride.

17. Oli Kebble – 5

Joined the fray on 51 minutes and although the scrum generally stacked up he did not offer as much around the park as Bhatti.

18. Siosiua Halanukonuka – 5

His performances on the field will never be as impressive or exciting as his exotic name.

19. Ryan Wilson – 5

The club co-captain will have been disappointed to start such an important game in the bench and, as you would expect from such a competitive character, he battled hard to make an impact when he replaced Harley on 51 minutes.

20. Tom Gordon– 5

Had less than two minutes to make an impact.

21. George Horne – 5

Was sent on to add energy and worked hard to deliver.

22. Peter Horne – 6

Played an important role in the build-up to Stewart’s late try.

23. Huw Jones – 5

Came on for the final 15 minutes after Hogg was taken out of the game.

Glasgow v Leinster: Warriors squeezed out by clinical champions

About David Barnes 3912 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 Comment

  1. Scott Cummings and Matt Fagerson were great. Special word for Grant Stewart who rose to the occasion. Took his try superbly.

    Can’t shake the feeling that with Hoggy going, Glasgow lack real firepower out wide.

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