Pro14: Glasgow Warriors 31-21 Leinster
|Glasgow Warriors (31) 31|
|Tries: G Horne 2, Grigg 2 Cons: P Horne 4 Pen: P Horne|
|Leinster (14) 21|
|Tries: Gibson-Park, O'Loughlin, A Byrne Cons: R Byrne 3|
An incredible run by Niko Matawalu to set up Nick Grigg for Glasgow Warriors' bonus-point try was the highlight of an exciting Pro14 victory over Leinster.
Scrum-half George Horne and centre Grigg each scored two tries for the hosts in a breathtaking first half.
Jamison Gibson-Park and Rory O'Loughlin registered converted tries for the Irish to make it 31-14 at the break.
Injury and bookings diminished Glasgow in the second half as Adam Byrne scored for Leinster, but Glasgow held firm.
This was a modicum of revenge for Glasgow, who lost to Leinster last month at Scotstoun and had their Champions Cup hopes all but ruined in the process. Glasgow had nine changes from that game, Leinster had 13. A whole lot of quality might have been missing, but this was a thrillingly madcap game all the same.
There was an early score and the action rarely let up all night. Leinster went 7-0 ahead when Gibson-Park whipped round the side of a ruck for a converted try, quickly cancelled out by George Horne's first.
The Horne brothers, Peter playing 10 and his sibling at nine, were at the heart of so much of what went on. Young George went over after Matawalu and Turner set him up. Peter Horne converted, but the pendulum swung again a few minutes later.
Leinster regained the lead when making the most of Peter Horne's missed kick to touch and then his team-mates went soft in defence. O'Loughlin went through to put the visitors 14-7 up.
Twelve minutes gone and already three tries. This was just the start of it, though. Glasgow started to play with width, pace and precision. The speed of their movement and their support lines caused Leinster massive problems and soon, a points mountain started to build.
Matawalu was involved in Glasgow's second as well, a surge supported by the Hornes and Scott Cummings before Grigg blasted through what was left of the Leinster cover. Another conversion from Horne Snr levelled it at 14-14.
Jordi Murphy's 17th minute sin-binning was hugely significant, the back-row unwisely tackling George Horne off a tap penalty without having retreated 10m. When the Irish international exited, Glasgow went to town. They scored 14 points while he was away.
The close-in grunt of Turner and Swinson opened things up for George Horne to snipe over from close-range, his brother converting. Next, it was Matawalu's break out, a counter-attack that had the Scotstoun crowd on their feet in anticipation even before the Fijian had left his own 22.
Matawalu got the ball in his hands about a metre from his own line. Forrest Gump had nothing on this. He ran and ran, did one Leinster defender for pace, skated round another, and then did two more. Leinster bodies fell like skittles behind him as he arrowed towards the try-line. Sensibly, instead of going for even more glory, he saw Leinster's last man coming for him and moved it on to Grigg for the bonus-point try. Sensational.
Peter Horne put over the conversion and then booted a penalty to make it 31-14. Glasgow had to grind it out as the night went on. Cummings was binned and Leinster capitalised when Leinster spread it wide and Byrne scored in the corner. Ten points the gap now.
Glasgow's challenges mounted. They lost Matt Fagerson to what looked like a very troubling injury. Then they lost substitute Alex Dunbar to the bin. Leinster had much of the game from there on, but their lineout spontaneously combusted and their composure in attack was not good enough to break Glasgow's defence.
Dave Rennie's team did not score after the break but having set up the victory in the first 40 they protected it in the second while denying Leinster the consolation of a losing bonus point. A sweet night for Glasgow. Eight out of eight now. Formidable.
Glasgow Warriors: Jackson, Masaga (Sarto), Grigg, Johnson (Dunbar), Matawalu, P Horne, G Horne (Pyrgos), Bhatti (Allan), Turner (MacArthur), Rae (Nicol), Swinson, Cummings, Harley, Gibbins (Wynne), M Fagerson (Smith).
Sin Bin: Cummings (46), Dunbar (60).
Leinster: Larmour, A Byrne, O'Loughlin, O'Brien (Keenan 72), D Kearney, R Byrne (Marsh 72), Gibson-Park (McCarthy 51), E Byrne (Dooley 51), Cronin (Strauss 58), Bent (Porter 51), Molony, M Kearney (Leavy 25), Fardy, Jordan Murphy (Josh Murphy 69), Deegan.
Sin Bin: J Murphy (16).
Referee: Stuart Berry (SARU)