Leinster 55 – Glasgow 19
Five rounds gone and Leinster are undefeated in this year’s Champions Cup. Our great form has been rewarded today with a secured home quarter final with one more round of the pool stages to come in 6 days time! Now that’s Leinstertainment!!
Leinster didn’t look in control of this match during the early stages of this match but once they got into their rhythm it was time to sit back and enjoy the incredible skills of the back three and the immense power of our forward pack! The performance wasn’t perfect as there were a number of penalties conceded by the home side early on. Glasgow threatened our 22 almost from kick off and looked like they might score a try within the first couple of minutes. However, Leinster’s defence held out and were soon motoring up the field. On Leinster’s first attacking play, they scored through Jordi Murphy, which was converted by Sexton to make it 7 nil after 9 minutes.
Just as we had all thought to ourselves how great Jordi is and how we’ll miss him when he leaves for Ulster next season, he got himself a yellow card 2 minutes later and could have gotten Glasgow awarded a penalty try! 6 minutes later, Matawalu scored the visitors first try which was converted by Peter Horne to bring the score to 7 all after 18 minutes.
Leinster struck back hard straight away and found themselves in a try scoring position again, with Nacewa diving over for a try 3 minutes after Horne’s conversion. Sexton added the extras to make it 14-7 after 20 minutes.
3 minutes later, Leinster were awarded a kickable penalty which Sexton slotted over to extend the lead to 17-7 on the 23 minute mark.
For the visitors there was no chance to take a break and regroup before half time, such was the increase in intensity Leinster applied to their visitors. Their pressure was rewarded with a third try through Sean Cronin, again converted by Sexton to bring the score to 24-7 with 7 minutes of the first half remaining.
TWO minutes later, Glasgow’s players where grouped up under the posts again as Scott Fardy secured the bonus point!
Sexton missed the conversion but it set us up with a 29-7 lead with a few minutes of the first half remaining.
Clearly not happy with the bonus point and the massive cushion on the scoreboard, Sexton got in for another try on 38 minutes. This brought the score to 34-7 at half time!
The second half started with a lot of back and forth but after 16 minutes of almost tries and bone crushing encounters, Isa Nacewa went in for his second try which was converted by Sexton’s replacement Ross Byrne to increase the lead to 41-7 after 57 minutes!
5 minutes later, Adam Ashe got in for the visitor’s second try to make it 41-12 after 61 minutes.
Only 5 minutes later, Leinster are at it again as Lowe dives in for another try, converted by Byrne to bring the score to 48-13 on the 68 minute mark.
Matawalu dives over for his second try for Glasgow after Leinster’s defence is caught out from good phase play by the visitors. 48-19 after 72 minutes.
5 minutes later, Scott Fardy also goes over for his second try, converted by Byrne. The score ends 55-19!
It was a try fest at the RDS with 10 tries scored between the two teams. For Glasgow, it was an afternoon to forget as they were bossed around for the majority of the match. For Leinster, it was a fantastic performance in attack and defence and showed us further evidence of the team cohesion and ambitious spirit in the squad. The boys in blue looked ruthless throughout and each player looked like they were really enjoying themselves as they epitomised what team work looks like!
There’s so many great things happening at Leinster, they are very much in control of how they play, how they can dominate the tempo and ultimately the scoreboard week in and week out. There’s very little improvement needed in the squad in my opinion. But I love that the Leinster management are eager to improve the squad and see a lot of areas to get better on. Here’s what Leo Cullen had to say:
“We’re very, very pleased to get a win and a bonus point as well. It was a little bit mixed as Glasgow were very aggressive at the start of the game and we probably coughed up the ball a little bit cheaply. When we got a bit more control and structure in the game we looked better and we had the period 20 minutes before half time when I thought the lads were very, very good. We created a lot of good opportunities and we were more accurate at the ruck which led us to getting more good ball. Second half was a bit mixed really as there were changes coming in from both teams and both teams probably got into bad habits of playing too loose. Ultimately we’re obviously delighted to get the win and bonus point. It’s important to be winning games and maintain good habits, there a few areas we need to be better come the knock-out stages. Even against Montpellier, we can get punished for those errors.
There are lots of areas that many of our players can improve upon which is always exciting for us. It was nice to score a few tries but we leaked a few tries so room to get better.”
Leinster has topped Pool 3 and the overall table, and head into the final round as top seeds. Next up, Montpellier in 6 days time! The boys in blue only need a losing bonus point to ensure they finish the pool stages as top seed which will secure that very important home semi final spot. That will add an extra incentive for Leinster to keep up their winning ways come the quarter final stage which will occur over the weekend of 30th March. Judging by their form so far, I have a feeling that they’ll take more than a single point next weekend against Montpellier!
Bring it on!!!