Leinster brought an end to Glasgow Warriors’ 2021/22 season in Dublin this afternoon, running in twelve tries to claim a 76-14 win at the RDS in the United Rugby Championship quarter-finals.
On a near-perfect afternoon for rugby in Dublin, it was the Warriors who exploded out of the traps to silence the home faithful. A penalty straight from the opening kick-off allowed Ross Thompson to send play into the Leinster 22, and from there four minutes of solid possession saw Glasgow go through the phases. A burst from Jack Dempsey took the Warriors to within a couple of metres, before Zander Fagerson powered his way over to apply the finish. Thompson added the extras and Glasgow led 7-0 after five minutes.
Stung by the early blow, Leinster duly set about in search of a response, setting up camp in the Glasgow half. A yellow card for Richie Gray saw the home side kick to the corner, and from the resulting maul Dan Sheehan would be driven over for the score. Ross Byrne added the extras from out wide, tying the scores with 14 minutes on the clock.
The home side wasted no time in going back on the attack, crossing for their second try as the opening quarter drew to a close. A burst in midfield from Garry Ringrose saw Jamison Gibson-Park spring into open field, and despite the best efforts of Rufus McLean to disrupt the pass it would be Jordan Larmour who would gather and touch down for the score. Byrne made it the full seven points, and Leinster had the lead.
Just as Gray was preparing to return to the field, the home side would add their third try in contentious fashion. Joe McCarthy was awarded the try after a TMO review despite seemingly losing the ball under pressure from George Turner, Byrne converting for a 21-7 lead.
On the stroke of half-time, the hosts would strike once more to put a dagger in the heart of the Warriors. It would be Sheehan once more who would be driven over from close range, the conversion hitting the post to leave the scoreline at the interval reading 26-7 to the Irishmen.
There would be no let-up from the men in blue at the start of the second-half; just three minutes after the restart, successive phases in the Glasgow 22 would see Caelan Doris eventually make the most of the overlap to score, Byrne converting to extend the lead.
With Ollie Smith becoming the second Warrior to spend 10 minutes on the sidelines after being sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on, Leinster would once again make full use of the extra man. First Michael Ala’alatoa would burrow over from close range, before Gibson-Park got on the end of a break from Larmour to outpace the covering defence for the score. Byrne would add the extras for both tries, taking the scoreling to 47-7 after 55 minutes.
Buoyed by the noise of the RDS faithful, Leo Cullen’s team kept coming forward. Larmour would once again be the catalyst in midfield, stepping away from three defenders before feeding Ringrose for the score. Byrne would once again strike the upright with the conversion attempt, but the home side were in total control.
The introduction of George Horne and Kiran McDonald off the bench saw the Warriors raise the tempo as the hour mark came and went, and the duo were to combine as Glasgow gave the travelling supporters something to cheer on 61 minutes. A break up the touchline from Sione Tuipulotu saw the centre put McLean into space, before the ball was recycled inside the Leinster 22. McDonald’s line saw the big man half-break the line, his offload finding Horne on his shoulder to send the scrum-half over the whitewash on his return from injury. Thompson’s conversion made it the full seven points, raising the noise from the Warrior Nation.
Yet the final 15 minutes would once again belong to Leinster, with the men in blue striking for a further four scores before the full-time whistle. The first would come from Player of the Match Larmour, the winger on the end of an overlap for a score converted by Byrne.
Ciaran Frawley would be the next to cross, picking off an interception in midfield to race home untouched, before the centre turned provider for replacement scrum-half Luke McGrath. Harry Byrne, on for his brother, notched both conversions, before sending the conversion attempt of Jimmy O’Brien’s 78th minute score wide of the mark.
The final whistle brought down the curtain on one of the most challenging afternoons in recent Glasgow rugby history, in addition to the 2021/22 season. An off-season break and reset now awaits the Warriors, before attacking the 2022/23 pre-season in earnest.
Kick-off 3:15 pm