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Schmidt suffers sickening start

LEINSTER threw away a 10-point lead to suffer a sickening 22-19 defeat by Glasgow on the opening night of the Magners League at Firhill.

It all came down to two kickers as replacement Duncan Weir nailed a touchline conversion, wobbly drop goal and penalty to catapult Glasgow to a lead they held for the first time in the 67th minute before Leinster's Isa Nacewa sliced a drop goal right and wide with the last act of the game.

"It was certainly a game that got away from us after half time. We're really disappointed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory," admitted coach Joe Schmidt.

Even so, Schmidt chose to deal in the positives rather than dwell on the negatives of an error-riddled, inconsistent performance, especially from some of his more senior players.

He saved special mention for Ireland U20 blindside Dominic Ryan, a constant source of irritation for the Glasgow back row and player who scored one try and had another wiped out.

"There were moments in the game when we had chances; a forward pass that was given which denied us a try. I was really pleased for Dom (Ryan) and I thought he played very well," he said.

"I didn't know him before I arrived but he has performed well during pre-season and carried that into tonight. The boys are very frustrated in there and they feel as though they let themselves down.

"It's up to us now to take it on the chin and get ourselves in order for next week."

If this was Leinster-light due to the unavailability of a number of first-choice players, Glasgow had also been hit with a slew of pre-season injuries.

The home side looked out of sorts from the kick-off and they were soon behind when Fergus McFadden struck a penalty from the left in the second minute. The Scottish club have had all off-season to plan without the significant loss of Dan Parks to Cardiff Blues.

Fly-half Ruairidh Jackson hinted at his own ability with kicks in the fourth and 23rd minutes to counter McFadden's second shot, prompted by the swift countering of Jamie Heaslip.

The Ireland international number eight was harshly judged to have made a forward pass in assisting Ryan's plunge to the line just before Heaslip gobbled up an overcooked lineout from hooker Fergus Thomson to send Ryan away on an impressive 40-metre burst to the line for their first try of the season.

It got even better for the visitors when captain Sean O'Brien turned over a scrum by poking his foot at the ball for Isaac Boss to latch onto it.

The scrum-half caused panic in the Glasgow defence with a clever kick and pounced on the ball in the follow up to see Leinster to a 16-6 lead at the interval.



BLOWS

Thereafter, Leinster lost whatever rhythm they had found when replacement hooker John Fogarty was immediately yellow carded for landing multiple blows to Glasgow captain Bernardo Stortoni in the 49th minute.

It was the watershed moment that precipitated Glasgow's gradual improvement and coincided with a long list of Leinster mistakes most notably from the inaccurate kicking of Nacewa and Luke Fitzgerald, who was also guilty of losing possession of the ball on more than one occasion.

Dangerous wing DTH van der Merwe ploughed through the tackle of Isaac Boss in the 67th minute and Weir applied his arrowing accuracy to three pots at goal to put Glasgow in front for the first time with precious little time to play.

Still, Leinster could have saved the night, but they lacked the composure with and without the ball which was ultimately their downfall.


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