Blues’ work undone by Hogg

Glasgow Warriors 22 Leinster 20

Blues’ work undone by Hogg

If the Guinness Pro12 can provide more action of the type on show at Scotstoun in the opening round of the championship then the new sponsors will down a few jars in celebration.

It was an agonisingly disappointing outcome for Leinster, who had fought back after trailing 19-0 at one stage to take the lead with less than five minutes to go, only to be denied the honours with an 80th-minute penalty by British and Irish Lion Stuart Hogg.

Leinster’s second-half revival had much to do with the use of their bench, among whom replacement prop Jack McGrath, the scorer of the visitors’ first try, was key.

“We were very disappointed at the end to give away a penalty after we had fought so hard to come back from 19-0 down,” McGrath admitted.

“We have to go back to the drawing board.

“But there were positives from the second half. I thought the lads who came on did really well. That shows that the preparation we do during the week allows the lads to be really comfortable coming into the game and knowing all the plays.”

Leinster were unlucky to lose inside centre Noel Reid with an ankle injury only 42 seconds into the game, necessitating Ian Madigan to come off the bench.

Madigan was cast into an immediate defensive role to check Glasgow’s confident attacking rugby.

Warriors’ first potential points looked to come from the boot of their young centre Mark Bennett, only for his long range shot at goal to drift wide of the uprights. Glasgow’s pressure, however, inevitably produced a score, outside-half Peter Horne crossing for a try after a good break by Alex Dunbar and clever support work from Scotland wing Tommy Seymour. The conversion by Henry Pyrgos from wide out put the Warriors 7-0 ahead.

Then, after claiming settlers’ rights on the Leinster line, second row Johnny Gray crashed over for Glasgow’s second try and minutes later the home side’s forwards claimed a further five points as skipper Josh Strauss broke clear before galloping unopposed to touch down under the posts, leaving Pyrgos with an easy conversion kick.

At 19-0 ahead with five minutes of the first half remaining it seemed Glasgow were heading for a bonus-point victory, but then the pendulum started shifting its position — 19-0 becoming 19-3 after a Madigan penalty and then 19-6 courtesy of a similar effort from Jimmy Gopperth.

The recovery continued as Jack McGrath scored from a driven line-out. Gopperth converted and the out-half then added the extras to a try by replacement lock Tom Denton that resulted from a combination of a massive touch-finder by Zane Kirchner and a miscalculated line-out by Glasgow.

Incredibly after such a poor start Leinster were in the lead by one point but Glasgow, unwilling to jettison the spoils of their earlier inventive play, fought their way back into the visitors’ 22 before launching a series of close-range forward drives.

Leinster gave away a penalty at the ruck and Hogg duly ensured victory for his side with a flawless kick.

Scorers for Glasgow Warriors: Tries: Horne, Gray, Strauss. Cons: Pyrgos (2). Pen: Hogg.

Scorers for Leinster: Tries: Denton, J McGrath. Cons: Gopperth (2). Pens: Madigan, Gopperth.

GLASGOW WARRIORS : P Murchie; T Seymour, M Bennett, A Dunbar (S Hogg 48, L Jones; P Horne (S Lamont 54), H Pyrgos (N Matawalu 60); A Allan (G Reid 52), F Brown (P MacArthur 54), E Murray (R de Klerk 64), L Nakarawa (T Swinson 64), J Gray, R Harley, C Fusaro (A Ashe 60), J Strauss.

LEINSTER : Z Kirchner; F McFadden, B Macken, N Reid (I Madigan 1), D Fanning; J Gopperth, I Boss (L McGrath 64); C Healy (J McGrath 45), S Cronin (B Byrne 68), M Ross (t Furlong 52), B Marshall (T Denton 52), M McCarthy, D Ryan, S Jennings (K McLauchlin 70) , S O’Brien.

Referee: N Owens (WRU).

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