Glasgow Warriors 19-32 Leinster

Glasgow Warriors were left empty-handed in their first-ever Monday night Guinness PRO14 clash, as Leinster emerged with a 32-19 win under the Scotstoun floodlights.

Tries from George Horne, D’arcy Rae and Tom Gordon were ultimately in vain for Danny Wilson’s men, the Irish province running in four tries of their own to stay top of Conference A.

A frenetic start made it clear that both teams had come to Scotstoun looking to play. Sam Johnson and Nick Grigg each made half-breaks as the Warriors tested the Leinster defence, whilst the visitors were looking to stretch play at every opportunity.

It was from one of these early bursts that Leinster struck for the night’s opening try. An instinctive run from Harry Byrne saw the Leinster fly-half get his hands free in the tackle, with Jimmy O’Brien on hand to collect the offload and sprint under the Glasgow uprights. Byrne added the extras and the visitors led 7-0.

Glasgow’s response was to exert sustained pressure in Leinster territory, with the home side probing in both the close exchanges and wide channels. After over 20 phases of possession, the breakthrough finally arrived; good work from Hamish Bain saw the second-rower break into the Leinster 22, and whilst his offload went to ground TJ Ioane reacted quickest to secure possession. From close range, the arch-finisher Horne was never going to be denied as the scrum-half darted over for the score, elder brother Pete adding the conversion to tie the scores after 17 minutes.

Leinster restored their lead five minutes later, a scrum penalty allowing Byrne to split the posts from 45 metres to give the visitors a 10-7 lead.

The visitors were beginning to settle into their rhythm, with only a sterling effort from Pete Horne denying James Tracey from close range just before the half-hour. From there, Leinster would extend their lead. A quick tap penalty from Luke McGrath saw the scrum-half ride the tackle of Grant Stewart and reach out for the try, Byrne converting for a 10-point lead.

Despite the best efforts of the home side, Leinster’s physical attack would be rewarded with another try just before the interval. A five-metre lineout saw Leinster work a front peel to perfection, openside flanker Scott Penny the man eventually driven over for the score. Byrne’s first miss of the night saw the extra two points go begging, but the visitors led 22-7 as the half-time whistle blew.

Knowing they had to score next, Glasgow came out of the changing rooms firing on all cylinders at the start of the second stanza. A monster penalty from Horne saw Glasgow go fully 50 metres for a lineout on Leinster’s 22, allowing Niko Matawalu to be launched through a gap and up to within 15 metres. An extra 10 metres from Johnson took the Warriors within range, before Rae burrowed over the whitewash for his first try in Glasgow colours. Horne converted, taking the score to 22-14 in favour of the visitors.

Wilson’s men were competing hard as they looked to erase the deficit, but were undone on 53 minutes by a piece of misfortune in midfield as a slip allowed Rory O’Loughlin to accelerate through a gap and up to the Glasgow five-metre line. In his attempt to win the ball back Huw Jones was sent to the sin-bin for a professional foul, and from the resulting penalty Leinster took full advantage; Michael Bent was eventually the man to touch down, Byrne converting for a 29-19 lead.

Still the Warriors came forward, though, refusing to cave under pressure from the defending champions. An excellent turnover from replacement George Turner saw George Horne’s kick in behind almost sit up for Seymour, a despairing lunge from McGrath the only thing denying the Glasgow winger a certain try.

Turner wasn’t the only Glasgow replacement to get involved, as Fotu Lokotui’s physical carrying allowed Johnson to make another half-break. Another kick in behind almost resulted in a score for Matawalu, and Glasgow were sensing a third try.

That score eventually arrived on 72 minutes, and it was once again the forwards that provided the finishing touch. Whilst a five-metre maul was initially repelled by Leinster, Gordon’s smart break away down the blindside saw the flanker reach out and touch down for the try. Brandon Thomson couldn’t add the extras, but Glasgow were withing range once more.

Unfortunately for the Warrior Nation, the tantalising prospect of the four-try bonus point – as well as the losing bonus-point – ultimately eluded the home side. Instead, it was left to Byrne to cap off the scoring with a penalty from in front of the posts, sealing a 32-19 win for the visitors.

The Warriors now turn their attention to a second Monday night clash in succession in round five; a trip to Belfast awaits Wilson’s side, as Ulster lie in wait in a week’s time.

live commentary 8:15 PM Monday 2 Nov 2020

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Kick-off 8:15 PM

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