Leinster manage to grind out a strong case for the defence
Glasgow 0 Leinster 6:Leinster flexed their muscles last night at Scotstoun to take the honours against Glasgow Warriors in an unspectacular RaboDirect Pro 12 match with a solid performance from their forward pack and an all-round defensive that kept the home side at bay.
The wet conditions at Scotstoun ensured that this match was never going to be a visual spectacle and inevitably it became a battle of the two sets of forwards. Crucially Glasgow had to play 20 minutes of the match with just 14 men after lock Tom Ryder and flanker Chris Fusaro each had a spell in the sin-bin, making the battle up front just a tad easier for the visitors.
But even then the match could have ended differently had Glasgow not failed in their goal kicking. In contrast to Ian Madigan, who kicked two from three, Peter Horne missed both his kicks at goal and when replacement Scott Wight was given a chance in front of the posts he too failed to hit the target.
Happily for Leinster Seán O’Brien showed up well in his comeback game after recovering from a hip injury and there was an equally satisfying performance from another returnee, Isa Nacewa.
After dominating territory for the opening minutes Leinster reaped their dividend with a penalty from Ian Madigan but it merely evinced a massive attacking effort from Glasgow.
But after Leinster were put in difficulty in their own 22 metre area from a charged down kick, a break by Isaac Boss switched pressure back on to the home side, increased with a penalty to the corner by Madigan, allowing the visitors to launch a series of short-range drives close to the Warriors’ line. But Glasgow were able to repeatedly disrup their opponents’ attacking intentions.
A yellow card dished out to Tom Ryder gave Madigan a second kick at goal but this time the ball was wide.
Then when Leinster mounted another series of drives by their powerful forwards deep inside the Warriors’ 22, a try seemed inevitable but a penalty against Shane Jennings gave Glasgow relief. At the subsequent lineout Quinn Roux suffered a shoulder injury and was replaced by Devin Toner.
The game opened up in the final few minutes of the first half but it was defence that ruled the day leaving Leinster disappointed as they trooped off at the interval break with a paltry three points lead that barely reflected their territorial dominance.
It was Glasgow who came out of the blocks faster at the beginning of the second half but it was Leinster who claimed the first points with a second penalty from Madigan following the sin-binning of the Warriors’ skipper, Chris Fusaro.
Glasgow had a chance to reply but centre Peter Horne was wide with his penalty kick and then minutes later completely fluffed a shot at goal. Replacement outhalf Scott Wight had no better luck, missing his penalty by inches as well.
The Warriors cranked up the pressure in the closing stages but Leinster’s defence ensured that Glasgow made little progress resulting in a hard-earned, if not pretty, victory for the visitors.