Glasgow Warriors 18-34 Leinster

Leinster became the first team to inflict defeat upon Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun in 2017/18, running in four tries to claim a 34-18 victory in the European Rugby Champions Cup.Stuart Hogg scored on his return to the side

Despite crossing for two tries of their own through Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour, the Warriors were ultimately left empty-handed, placing yet more importance on December’s double-header with Montpellier as they look to qualify for the knockout stages.

With Scotstoun a sea of flags, referee Jerome Garces blew to get proceedings underway, Peter Horne rising highest to collect the kick-off.

It was the visitors who registered the first points of the afternoon, however, as Jonny Sexton made no mistake from the tee after just two minutes.

After some cagey opening exchanges, Stuart Hogg produced the first real moment of excitement on 13 minutes, breaking from 22 to 22 in a stunning break. With Leinster conceding a penalty, Finn Russell duly levelled the scores at 3-3.

With the Warriors in no mood to ease up, the first try of the match arrived just two minutes later. Russell’s kick in behind the Leinster defence was hacked on by Tommy Seymour, with Hogg just touching the ball down before the dead-ball line to mark his return to action in the best possible manner. Russell converted from out wide, and the home side led 10-3.

The Irish side responded strongly, enjoying the lion’s share of territory and possession as they went in search of a try of their own. It eventually fell to Cian Healy to burrow his way over from close range to touch down on 23 minutes, Sexton’s conversion clipping the post on its way over the crossbar.

With greasy conditions making handling difficult, the game’s physicality increased as the game approached half-time. As the clock ticked into overtime at the end of the half, Healy was driven over by an unstoppable Leinster maul for his second try, despite the best efforts of Leonardo Sarto. Sexton’s low conversion was successful, with the score reading 17-10 to the Irishmen at the break.

Having scored just before the interval, Leinster doubled down with a try at the beginning of the second half. Repeated phases in the Glasgow 22 eventually told, as Sexton’s loop move with Scott Fardy saw the fly-half canter under the posts. The Ireland international converted his own try, extending his side’s lead to 24-10.

Glasgow hit straight back. Some wonderful hands and a determination to keep the ball alive saw the Warriors move towards the Leinster try-line, before Hogg drew the last man to send Seymour over in the corner. Russell was just off target with the conversion attempt, but the Scotstoun crowd were in full voice.

The home crowd were almost given another score to cheer on 56 minutes, as Russell’s no-look pass on his own 22 sent Sam Johnson searing past Sexton. The Leinster fly-half did well to chase Johnson down, however, forcing a knock-on on the visitors’ 22.

The Warriors were becoming the team in control, however, as they looked to overhaul the deficit. Russell made no mistake with a simple penalty after 63 minutes, slotting the ball between the uprights to get his team back to within a converted try.

That penalty was soon cancelled out by Sexton, though, extending the visiting side’s lead to 27-18 with 13 minutes to play.

Try as they might, the Warriors just could not find a way past the Leinster defence, with their efforts hampered by injuries to the likes of Callum Gibbins and Adam Ashe. With just four minutes remaining, the game was all but secured by Leinster’s fourth try, centre Noel Reid cutting back inside and racing over for the bonus point. Ross Byrne, on for Sexton, added the extras, taking the final score to 34-18.

A tough result for the Warrior Nation to endure, but there will be little time for Dave Rennie’s men to dwell on the performance – the visit of the Southern Kings this Friday heralds the return of Guinness PRO14 action, with the Warriors looking to defend their place at the top of Conference A.