Friday 23 March 2018

Weir gives Leinster kick in the teeth

Glasgow 22 Leinster 19

Leinster's hopes of making a winning start to their Magners League campaign were shattered as Glasgow came from behind to assume control of the game in the second half.

The results leaves Leinster once again wondering why it is so difficult to defeat the Warriors in Glasgow.

New coach Joe Schmidt will want answers to why his side -- after dominating the first half to build up a 16-6 interval lead -- lost their grip on the game in the second half.

Part of the answer may lie in the sin-binning of replacement hooker John Fogarty after only a minute on the park but there must be questions on the overall fitness of what was admittedly a relatively inexperienced pack.

Both sides eased themselves into the game and after five minutes it was 3-3 with a penalty apiece from Fergus McFadden and Ruaridh Jackson. But the even nature of the opening minutes was soon shattered as Leinster turned up the heat with impressive handling that created scoring chances first for Shane Horgan and then Sean O'Brien, neither of which were converted.

When Jamie Heaslip and Isaac Boss combined, another try beckoned but again there was no touchdown. This time, however, Leinster profited from a penalty award and a second successful kick from McFadden.

With the first quarter coming to its end, Leinster flanker Dominic Ryan appeared to claim the game's first try from Heaslip's pass, only for referee Tim Hayes to call it forward.

Against the run of play Glasgow levelled the scores with a second Jackson penalty but the home side were immediately rocked by a shock try. An overthrow at their own line-out went to Heaslip, whose carefully judged pass gave Ryan a 45-metre run to the line for an unconverted try.


Six minutes before the break Leinster increased their lead with something of a farcical try that stemmed from Glasgow's poor control of the ball at the set-scrum, allowing Boss and cohort Heaslip to attack.

When the ball was kicked forward it rebounded behind the Glasgow try-line in the manner of a pin-ball machine but in the midst of the home side's confusion, Boss kept his eye on the ball to touch down, giving Leinster a 16-6 interval advantage.

After the break, Leinster's lead was reduced by a Jackson penalty while replacement John Fogarty was in the sin bin after only one minute on the field.

Glasgow garnered no further points in the hooker's absence but crucially began to build a winning momentum that converted into points with a try in the corner by winger DTH Van Der Merwe.

Glasgow's teenage out-half Duncan Weir, who had just come on to the field as a sub, put over the touchline conversion to level the scores before giving Glasgow the lead for the first time in the match with a drop-goal.

Almost immediately out-half Isa Nacewa, taking over the goal-kicking duties from McFadden, who had been replaced, brought the scores level again with a penalty. However, four minutes before full-time Weir kicked a penalty to regain the lead for the hosts.

Leinster tried desperately to hit back and looked set to draw the match when Nacewa attempted a late drop-goal. However, the ball drifted wide of the right upright and Leinster's final chance had gone, leaving Glasgow happy but surprised winners.

Glasgow Warriors -- B Stortoni; DTH Van Der Merwe, M Evans, G Morrison, F Aramburu (H O'Hare 71); R Jackson (D Weir 65), H Pyrgos; J Welsh (R Grant 40), F Thomson (P McArthur 58), M Low; T Ryder (A Muldowney 6), R Gray; R Wilson (R Harley 50), C Forrester, R Vernon.

Leinster -- L Fitzgerald; S Horgan (I Madigan 54), E O'Malley, F McFadden (E Sheridan 69), N Morris; I Nacewa, I Boss; H Van Der Merwe, R Strauss (J Fogarty 48), S Shawe (B Prescott 46); N Hines, E O'Donaghue; D Ryan, S O'Brien, J Heaslip (S Keogh 64).

Ref -- T Hayes (WRU).

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport