Glasgow 18 Leinster 34: Warriors’ European hopes overpowered by experienced Irish

Warriors' Stuart Hogg celebrates a try on his comeback against Leinster.

Glasgow’s European Rugby Champions Cup campaign crashed to a premature halt under the weight of Leinster forward power and the three-time champions’ big-match experience at Scotstoun.

Stuart Hogg had a try-scoring comeback after injury but that was the only real bright spot for an outmuscled Warriors team, who were unable to bridge the power gap for the second week in a row following the bludgeoning defeat last week at Exeter.

Lions stand-off Jonny Sexton revelled in an armchair ride behind his dominant pack in which Tadhg Furlong and Rhys Ruddock were outstanding, and veteran Cian Healy had two first half tries from driving play.

Glasgow were reduced to attacking from deep and forcing too many overambitious passes. After only two weeks with not even a bonus point their ERCC campaign is almost certainly over, and head coach Dave Rennie has some serious thinking to do about how to increase his team’s forward power to match the bigger teams.

Leinster’s experience all-round contrasted with Glasgow’s naivety, the Irish side’s ability to take scoring chances when they got the ball in the home 22 one glaring difference between the sides.

Hogg announced his return with one brilliant run, an opportunistic try but one error which allowed Leinster back into the game.

The Irish had an early lead with a Sexton penalty after Glasgow hauled down an early maul, but Hogg’s speed into the line from his own 22 had their defence splintered and after he made 60 yards the Irish were offside allowing Finn Russell to level the scores.

On 16 minutes the Warriors conjured a brilliantly worked try, Russell and Peter Horne working a wraparound to hold the defence and the stand-off’s chip ahead was hacked on by Leo Sarto for Hogg to get the touch down just before the ball rolled dead.

Russell converted but Glasgow’s lead lasted only eight minutes as Hogg, obviously pumped up, booted a clearance kick from his own five metre line out of play at the other end.

That gave Leinster a scrum platform in the Warriors 22 and after they kicked a penalty to the corner, they drove for Healy to squeeze over, Sexton converting.

Glasgow lost skipper Ryan Wilson to a head knock after he spent some time getting patched up for a knee injury and the Warriors passed up two good scoring chances after Sarto’s power running got them into the 22.

And they paid for it in red time at the end of the half, turning down a kick at the posts to go to the corner and an efficient lineout drive went 15 metres for Healy to get his second try, Sexton converting for a 17-10 lead.

The situation got worse for the Warriors when a promising start to the second half ended with a silly penalty, and Leinster mixed their brute power with some finesse for a third try.

Luke McGrath shrugged off a poor Adam Ashe tackle and made huge ground, and after the Leinster forwards pounded the home line Sexton did a neat wraparound with Scott Fardy to score under the posts, the stand-off converting himself.

Glasgow looked on the rack as Leinster went for the kill, but replacement Rob Harley’s turnover started a flowing attack with hooker George Turner prominent that ended with Horne’s flat pass putting Seymour in for an unconverted try.

Russell kicked a penalty as the Warriors tried to up the pace and play away from the tight exchanges,  but Horne’s early tackle on Sexton allowed the Lions 10 to stretch the margin back to nine.

Glasgow were left trying to strike from their own 22 and suffered another blow when Gibbins and Horne clashed heads and both had to depart.

And Glasgow’s disrupted defence were picked apart in the dying minutes with centre Noel Reid stepping off his left foot past Russell and finding a huge chasm to nip through under the posts, Byrne converting.

Att 7700

Glasgow Warriors: Hogg; Seymour, Johnson, Horne, Sarto; Russell, Price; Bhatti, Turner, Fagerson; Swinson, Gray; Wilson, Gibbins, Ashe.

Replacements: MacArthur for Turner 64, Allan for Bhatti 61, Rae, Cummings for Ashe 62, Harley for Wilson 26, Pyrgos for Price 64, Grigg for Johnson 67, Jones for Sarto 61.

Leinster: Carbery; McFadden, Henshaw, Reid, Daly; Sexton, McGrath; Healy, Cronin, Furlong; Toner, Fardy; Ruddock, Van der Flier, Conan.

Replacements: Tracy for Cronin 50, McGrath for Healy 50, Bent for Furlong 68, Ryan for Fardy 55, Leavy for Van der Flier 49, Gibson-Park for McGrath 62, Byrne for Sexton 68, Kearney for Daly 42.

Ref: J Garces (FFR)