Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Leinster and Glasgow share spoils

Leinster and Glasgow Warriors earned three points apiece at the end of an enthralling 34-34 Guinness Pro12 draw at the RDS.

The table-topping Warriors were well on top in the first half, establishing a stunning 27-7 interval lead as Peter Horne converted tries from Stuart Hogg, Richie Vernon and Mark Bennett.

But the defending champions turned the game on its head by producing a thrilling 24-point turnaround which included a brace of tries from man-of-the-match Isaac Boss and a superb solo effort from Jordi Murphy.

Ian Madigan converted all three and his 70th-minute penalty to put the hosts seven points clear - only for Glasgow to hit back just three minutes later, with replacement Glenn Bryce touching down and Horne landing the levelling conversion.

Returning to the scene of last May's Pro12 final defeat, the Scots made early inroads and deservedly took a 7-0 lead after as many minutes.

Vernon's midfield offload gave Hogg the opportunity to fend off Eoin Reddan's tackle and place the ball at the left-hand post with Horne, who started at out-half due to Finn Russell's ankle injury, comfortably converting.

Horne punished a lineout infringement for three more points as Leinster struggled for possession and territory. DTH van der Merwe then threatened on the left wing before the hosts got a grip on proceedings.

A strong carry from Tom Denton sparked a prolonged spell of Leinster pressure inside the Glasgow 22. The visitors' defence held firm until Shane Jennings and Jimmy Gopperth combined to release McFadden to go over in the right corner. Madigan converted with aplomb for 10-7.

However, the Leinster defensive line gave way soon after as Tommy Seymour made ground on the right and centre Vernon used his size to take contact and stretch over to score just to the right of the posts. Horne's conversion restored the 10-point buffer.

A third converted try followed for the Warriors six minutes before the break. Centre Bennett burst on to Niko Matawalu's flat pass and evaded McFadden's clutches before crashing over by the posts. Bennett added a long-range penalty in injury-time, widening the gap to 20 points.

The second half was just 25 seconds old when Bryce, who replaced the injured Hogg, had his clearance kick blocked by Boss and the Leinster replacement scrum-half won the race to touch down the loose ball.

Madigan swept the conversion over and he quickly tagged on a penalty, with front-rowers Cian Healy and Sean Cronin making an impact off the bench.

But the game took on a completely different complexion after Fijian Matawalu was sin-binned for elbowing Healy off the ball.

Leinster responded with two tries in three minutes, flanker Murphy avoiding three tackles on a terrific run in from the 10-metre line before Boss completed his brace off the back of a ruck following smart runs from Madigan and lively replacement Luke Fitzgerald.

Madigan converted both for a sudden 31-27 lead.

There were yet more twists and turns and Leinster, who have a fight on their hands to reach the play-offs, may yet rue their failure to see this result out.

The Glasgow forwards took up the baton from a couple of penalties and close-in mauls before Pyrgos and Horne passed wide to the left where Bryce went over unopposed. Horne held his nerve to ensure a share of the spoils for his side.

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph