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Glasgow 19 Leinster 32: Relentless champions Leinster again outclass Warriors at Scotstoun

George Horne scores Glasgow's first half try against Leinster.
George Horne scores Glasgow's first half try against Leinster.

Champions Leinster won their 23rd Guinness PRO14 game in succession as they came to Scotstoun and dominated the Glasgow Warriors for a bonus point win.

Three tries to the good after controlling all but a brief spell of the first half, the three-time champions scored a fourth in the second half and then ground out the rest of the contest, Glasgow having their chances to make up ground in the second half but floundering on simple mistakes.

In contrast Leinster were clinical and assertive when they were on top, and took almost every chance they had inside the Warriors 22, ably led by veteran back rower and man of the match Rhys Ruddock.

The Warriors had bright spots here and there, Rob Harley gave everything while Niko Matawalu, Nick Grigg and Tom Gordon had their moments, but they were nowhere near the cohesive and relentless excellence of the impeccably-drilled visiting side.

Glasgow scored one good first-half try through George Horne, but they were simply outclassed in all phases of play throughout the rest of the first 40 by a Leinster side superbly efficient and powerful with the ball and exerting enormous pressure on the rare occasions they didn’t have it.

A frantic opening spell saw the visitors quell the Warriors’ early attacks with two breakdown penalties, and then score themselves after 11 minutes.

The forwards did the hard graft making yards before stand-off Harry Byrne made a half-break and off-load to Jimmy O’Brien, who easily fended off Huw Jones to score under the posts.

Glasgow’s response was equally impressive, a long series of 20 or more phases which wore down the Leinster defence until Horne sauntered over untouched for the equalising try.

But there was an ominous sign when Glasgow’s pack was shoved off their first scrum and Byrne kicked his side back ahead, and another scrum penalty in the 22 saw Luke McGrath tap quickly and squirm over for the score.

Leinster’s third try of the half came three minutes before half-time, Scott Penny peeling off a lineout maul with ease to score in the corner, and it was 22-7 at the break.

Leinster’s almost faultless routine let them down for once with a silly offside penalty at the start of the second half, and Glasgow made them pay with a try when D’Arcy Rae was driven over by his pack colleagues, Pete Horne converting.

But on 52 minutes Huw Jones’ tough night continued when he was yellow-carded for illegally interfering after Rory O’Loughlin slashed through and was stopped at the line, and seconds later prop Michael Bent went over for the bonus point try.

The Warriors did have chances to get some pressure on the champions but lost three successive lineouts deep in the Leinster half and then a quick tap penalty was knocked on.

Finally with eight minutes left Glasgow made a lineout in the Leinster 22 count with Tom Gordon powering over for an unconverted try, but that still left them 10 points adrift, and Byrne’s late penalty confirmed the Leinster victory.

Glasgow Warriors: Huw Jones; Tommy Seymour, Nick Grigg, Sam Johnson, Niko Matawalu; Pete Horne, George Horne; Aki Seiuli, Grant Stewart, D’Arcy Rae; Rob Harley, Hamish Bain; Ryan Wilson, Tom Gordon, TJ Ioane.

Replacements: George Turner for Stewart 55, Alex Allan for Seiuli 55, Enrique Pieretto for Rae 55, Chris Fusaro for Wilson 63, Fotu Lokotui for Ioane 63, Jamie Dobie for G Horne 71, Brandon Thomson for P Horne 69, Ratu Tagive for Seymour 71.

Leinster: Jimmy O’Brien; Cian Kelleher, Rory O’Loughlin, Tommy O’Brien, Dave Kearney; Harry Byrne, Luke McGrath; Peter Dooley, James Tracy, Michael Bent; Ross Molony, Devin Toner; Josh Murphy, Scott Penny, Rhys Ruddock.

Replacements: Dan Sheehan for Tracy 55, Michael Milne for Dooley 55, Tom Clarkson for Bent 61, Jack Dunne for Murphy 71, Scott Fardy for Molony 61, Hugh O’Sullivan for McGrath 75, David Hawkshaw for O’Brien 71, Dan Leavy for Penny 61.

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