Schmidt relief as Leinster recover to snatch draw in Glasgow

Winning has almost become a habit for Leinster in the RaboDirect Pro 12 league this season but on Saturday they were given a reminder that past form does not guarantee success.

However Leinster coach Joe Schmidt can feel reasonably happy his side came away from Glasgow’s Firhill stadium with two points after trailing 10-0 going into the last quarter, with Isa Nacewa on a yellow card.

“To come back and grab a draw in the circumstances of being down to 14 men, in these conditions was terrific,” admitted Schmidt.

Yellow cards are generally contentious points and Nacewa’s was no less so. Glasgow lock Tom Ryder pillaged ball at the lineout and, after an initial charge, sent hooker Pat McArthur on a run to the line.

Nacewa covered and appeared to have tackled the Glasgow hooker as he touched down. But Tipperary referee John Lacey called on the TMO before making his decision.

The video showed McArthur’s foot was just over the touchline as he dotted the ball down. That should have been that. But the video also revealed Nacawa’s tackle had been illegal, the full-back did not use his arms and therefore deemed to have shoulder-charged the ball carrier in preventing the try. Lacey showed the yellow card and awarded a penalty try.

“That could have been a killer blow to us” said scrum half Isaac Boss.

“But in fact being down to 14 woke us up and gave us the motivation to launch a series of drives that brought a vital score. We had opportunities earlier in the game but were unlucky with our goal kicks. But we can feel pleased the way some of the young fellas performed.”

If the second-half penalty try was unfortunate, then the fates conspired against Leinster before the interval. Twice outside half Ian Madigan was inches off target with goal kicks. Then Nacewa drove the ball under the posts.

Glasgow fared only slightly better with Ruaraidh Jackson striking successfully once from two attempts to give his side a 3-0 lead. Moreover Glasgow butchered a priceless opportunity in the first half when scrum-half Henry Pyrgos knocked the ball on in front of the Leinster posts.

But, with a 10-0 lead going into the final quarter against 14 men, they allowed Leinster gain momentum through number eight Leo Auva’a’s surging runs. From a series of close-range drives, Heinke van der Merwe burrowed over from a metre out and Madigan’s successful conversion kick cut the gap to three.

Nacewa returned and kicked a penalty with nine minutes of play remaining and they held on for the draw.

Scorers for Glasgow: Try: Penalty try. Con: Jackson. Pen: Jackson

Scorers for Leinster: Try: Van der Merwe. Con: Madigan. Pen: Nacewa.

GLASGOW WARRIORS: P Murchie; D Lemi, A Dunbar, T Nathan, C Shaw; R Jackson, H Pyrgos; R Grant, P MacArthur, J Welsh, N Campbell, T Ryder, R Harley, C Fusaro, R Wilson.

Replacements: R Verbakel for N Campbell (30), D Hall for P MacArthur (55), G Reid for R Grant (63), C Forrester for R Wilson (64), T Seymour for D Lemi (66), S Wight for R Jackson (66).

LEINSTER: I Nacewa; D Kearney, B Macken, C O’Shea, F Carr; I Madigan, I Boss; H van der Merwe, R Strauss, N White, D Browne, M Flanagan, D Ryan, S Jennings, L Auva’a.

Replacements: E O’Malley for C O’Shea (40), D Toner for M Flanagan (40), J Hagan for N White (57), A Conway for F Carr (63), J Murphy for D Ryan (65).

Referee: J Lacey (IRFU).

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