Glenn Bryce came to the rescue of Glasgow Warriors at the RDS last night, as his 74th-minute converted try meant that Glasgow and defending champions Leinster were inseparable at the end of an extraordinary Guinness Pro12 encounter.
The Blues’ starting line-up was boosted by the return of Ian Madigan, Eoin Reddan, Marty Moore and Jordi Murphy from Six Nations duty, while Sean Cronin, Cian Healy and Luke Fitzgerald also featured amongst the replacements.
Just eight minutes into the action, Glasgow full-back Stuart Hogg broke the deadlock after receiving a neat off-load from Richie Vernon.
Out-half Peter Horne comfortably secured the bonuses on offer, and when he added a 12th-minute penalty, Leinster finally opened their account on 25 minutes, as Fergus McFadden crossed over in the right-corner from a Murphy pass. Madigan’s superb touchline conversion raised the roof off the Ballsbridge venue, but just when the hosts seemed set to take control of the proceedings, Glasgow issued them with a succession of hammer blows.
Nigel consulted with TMO Seamus Flannery before awarding five points to the persistent Vernon, and after Mark Bennett’s stunning line-break led to their third try, an excellent long-range Horne three-pointer gave Gregor Townsend’s charges an incredible 27-7 cushion at the break.
This presented Leinster with a mammoth task upon the resumption, but replacement scrum-half Boss charged a Bryce clearance to touch down 20 second after the restart, and courtesy of five points from the boot of Madigan, they had forced their way back into the reckoning.
The sin-binning of Glasgow’s Niko Matawalu subsequently handed the initiative to Leinster, and when Murphy and Boss broke free for tries in the 52nd and 56th minutes respectively, Leinster were suddenly four points to the good (31-27).
A second Madigan penalty increased their lead nine minutes from time, but just when Glasgow were heading towards their fifth league defeat of the season, Bryce atoned for his earlier error by finishing off a fine cross-field move. Under intense pressure, Horne added the conversion
I Boss 2 tries, F McFadden, J Murphy try each, I Madigan 2 pens, 4 cons.
S Hogg, R Vernon, M Bennett, G Bryce try each, P Horne 2 pens, 4 cons.
Z Kirchner; F McFadden, B Te’o, I Madigan, D Kearney; J Gopperth, E Reddan; M Bent, R Strauss, M Moore; T Denton, M McCarthy; J Murphy, S Jennings, J Conan.
S Cronin for Strauss (33-39), I Boss for Reddan (33), Cronin for Strauss, C Healy for Bent (both h-t), L Fitzgerald for McFadden (51), T Furlong for Moore (53), D Ryan for Conan (66), G D’Arcy for Te’o (72).
S Hogg; T Seymour, M Bennett, R Vernon, DTH van der Merwe; P Horne, N Matawalu; A Allan, F Brown, Z Fagerson; T Swinson, A Kellock; R Harley, C Fusaro, J Strauss.
M Cusack for Fagerson (10), G Bryce for Hogg (39), C Braid for Vernon (44), P MacArthur for Fusaro (47), J Gray for Kellock (51), A Ashe for Strauss (59), H Pyrgos for Matawalu, J Yanuyanutawa for Allan (both 63), Strauss for Brown (66).