Glasgow Warriors cruised into the quarter-finals of the European Rugby Champions Cup with six tries in a record humiliation of two-time champions Leicester Tigers at their famous Welford Road ground.
The Warriors became the first Scottish side to win at the East Midlands citadel since 1905 and did it with almost imperious ease, their grip on possession and quick-moving game simply too much for one of European rugby’s greatest clubs.
Four tries in the first 36 minutes meant that any nerves about the Warriors getting the win they needed for qualification vanished, and two more followed in a second half that was little more than a canter for them.
The hapless Tigers didn’t even score a point and suffered their record defeat in European competition, doubly humiliating in front of their fervent home supporters who were streaming for the exits long before the end.
The foundation was the Warriors forwards’ complete domination upfront, allowing Finn Russell to strut through the game almost at walking pace tormenting the Tigers defence.
They had a penalty try with Jonny Gray, Ryan Wilson, Tim Swinson all scoring. Tommy Seymour and Mark Bennett were the other try scorers, Russell converting five and adding a penalty.
The Warriors set the tone for an astonishing first half display from their opening possession, holding the ball through multiple phases and wearing down the Tigers defence.
They didn’t seem to making great progress until Ali Price darted into a gap and slipped an inside pass to Seymour, who held off a couple of tackles to stretch over and finish under the posts.
Russell converted and then landed a penalty after Dan Cole was penalised for an easy early 10-0 lead with barely the same amount of minutes played.
The stand-off missed a penalty but Leicester’s game disintegrated when Mathew Tait obstructed Lee Jones up the touchline and was yellow carded for his trouble.
Referee Reynal gave another penalty as the Tigers hauled down the Glasgow maul from a five metre lineout, and then ran to the posts for the penalty try when the home pack couldn’t resist doing the same again, Russell converting for a 17-0 lead.
Tigers fans were already disgruntled but were furious when their team opted to try two long penalties rather than kick for the corner, and Freddie Burns missed both.
And their mood didn’t improve on the half hour when Gordon Reid came out of a ruck, off-loading to Russell who took it into the 22, where quick hands from the Scots moved it wide for Bennett to score the third try.
Russell converted from the touchline, and with four minutes left in the half Glasgow had the bonus point, Price and Jones combining to send skipper Gray sauntering over from 15 metres out, Russell converting for an incredible 31-0 lead at the break.
The one way traffic didn’t halt after the break, as after Russell was short with a penalty attempt the Warriors won another penalty they kicked to the line.
Ryan Wilson sprung untouched from the lineout and carried to the line, and after Fagerson and Price went close the back rower was in position to duck between tackles for the fifth try, Russell adding the extras again.
And even a flurry of replacements didn’t stop the Warriors, Henry Pyrgos and Pat MacArthur both involved before Tim Swinson crashed over the line for an unconverted score on the hour mark.
That ended the scoring but the Warriors still battled to keep their try-line uncrossed in the final minutes with replacement D’Arcy Rae just forced into touch as they sought a seventh try.
Leicester: M Tait; A Thompstone, P Betham, J Roberts, T Brady; F Burns, B Youngs; G Bateman, T Youngs (capt), D Cole; E Slater, M Fitzgerald; M Williams, L McCaffrey, L Hamilton.
Replacements: H Thacker for T Youngs 63, E Genge for Bateman 50, P Cilliers for Cole 67, D Barrow for Fitzgerald 63, W Evans for McCaffery 75, S Harrison for B Youngs 50, M Smith for Betham 64.
Glasgow: S Hogg; T Seymour, M Bennett, A Dunbar, L Jones; F Russell, A Price; G Reid, F Brown, Z Fagerson; T Swinson, J Gray (capt); R Harley, R Wilson, J Strauss.
Replacements: P MacArthur for Brown 58, A Allan for Reid 64, D Rae for Fagerson 64, B Alainu’uese for Swinson 70, C Fusaro for Strauss 55, H Pyrgos for Price 55, N Grigg for Dunbar 64, P Murchie for Hogg 70.
Ref: M Raynal (FFR)