Wednesday 23 August 2017

Cullen left frustrated as Leinster let lead slip

Glasgow 33-25 Leinster

Leinster captain Luke McGrath leads his team off after their defeat Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Leinster captain Luke McGrath leads his team off after their defeat Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Alan Lorimer

If you've achieved a hard-fought lead then jettisoning this advantage is not the best modus operandum. That thought will certainly be uppermost in the collective mindset of Leinster ahead of their match against Edinburgh at Murrayfield on Friday after the Dubliners experienced the pain of letting slip a 22-12 lead midway through the second half and ultimately losing 33-25.

The damage was done by Glasgow's in-form wing, Tommy Seymour, who scored a second-half hat-trick of tries, all from Leinster's loss of defensive focus, which, added to his first-half touchdown, gave the Warriors' speedster a four-try tally and the man-of-the-match award.

"It was looking pretty good 10 minutes into the second half. But it's part of the learning process for some of these young players," admitted Leinster's head coach, Leo Cullen

"There were a lot of positives in the game - it's just frustrating we didn't get anything out of them.

"After scoring three tries in the first half it's a little bit disappointing. We just need to be a litte bit more accurate.

"It is a tough experience but they will be better for it.

The first of Seymour's second-half tries came from the interception of a pass thrown by Leinster out-half Joey Carbery. That, however, was a blip in an otherwise encouraging performance by Carbery, who after being named man-of-the-match against Treviso a week earlier, showed at Scotstoun why he is a rising star.

His silky running on Scotstoun's new artificial pitch helped to create Leinster's first try by Rob Kearney and then in the final play of the first half it was Carbery's exquisitely judged cross-field kick that gave Zane Kirchner, a late inclusion to the starting line-up due to the withdrawal of Fergus McFadden through injury, his side's third try.

Moreover, Carbery kicked two conversions (one from the touchline) and two penalty goals.

Despite the costly error of throwing an interception pass, Carbery earned justifiable plaudits from his skipper Luke McGrath, who said : "He was brilliant last week and brilliant today."

McGrath was also honest in his assessment of his side's overall performance.

"We showed better width, we played a good variety of rugby. A lot of offloading was done well in the first half but that went downhill in the second and we let them into the game," the scrum-half added.

Leinster's other try scorer was their flanker Josh van der Flier, who took the direct route to the line from a ruck to score under the posts.

Van der Flier was part of a hard-working back row in which Dan Leavy looked in form and Jordi Murphy impressed. Murphy, who is comfortable in all three back row positions, did exceptionally well at number 8, his vision helping to create Kearney's try.

"Today I thought he cut some clever lines. For his first start of the season he did some really good things," Cullen said of Murphy.

Cullen can expect more of his experienced players to return in the next few weeks but with Carbery and the likes of Garry Ringrose in form the head coach will have difficult decisions to make.

"There's some selections dilemmas but that's pleasing. Our focus now is getting a result against Edinburgh. We've only four points on the board and we'd have liked to have a bit more than that," Cullen said.

Glasgow Warriors - S Hogg; L Sarto, A Dunbar, S Johnson, T Seymour; P Horne, H Pyrgos; G Reid (A Allan 68), F Brown (C Flynn 68), S Puafisi ( Z Fagerson 48); T Swinson (T Uanivi 76), J Gray; R Harley, S Favaro (L Wynn 68), R Wilson

Leinster - R Kearney (R O'Loughlin 58); Z Kirchner, G Ringrose, N Reid, D Kearney; J Carbery (C Marsh 76), L McGrath (J Gibson-Park 62); C Healy (P Dooley 58), J Tracy (B Byrne 58), M Bent (T Furlong 46); M McCarthy, R Molony (M Kearney 58); D Leavy (D Ryan 70), J van der Flier, J Murphy

Ref - J Lacey (IRFU)

Irish Independent

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