Russell's hat-trick helps Leinster dismantle Glasgow
REPORT: Rob Russell scored a hat-trick of tries as Leinster eased to a 40-5 United Rugby Championship victory over Glasgow Warriors.
A brace from winger Russell, adding to Dave Kearney’s opening try, had the hosts leading 21-0 at half-time. Ross Byrne, Ireland’s late goal-kicking hero against Australia, landed three conversions.
Glasgow, who had nine players back from Scotland camp, opened their account with 30 minutes remaining through Argentinian international Sebastian Cancelliere.
However, Leinster replacement Michael Milne bagged a 55th-minute bonus point try, and their eighth straight win of the season was completed by late efforts from Russell and replacement John McKee.
Leo Cullen’s men opened the scoring off some maul pressure, with Jamie Osborne’s bouncing pass putting Kearney over in the seventh minute. Byrne converted from near the left touchline.
A sublime piece of skill from Charlie Ngatai sent Russell over in the right corner just five minutes later, with Byrne making it 14-0.
Glasgow captain Kyle Steyn and Cancelliere then exploited some gaps in the home defence, but Luke McGrath came up with a crucial steal.
Cullen’s side conjured a second score for Russell, who slipped through after an inviting McGrath offload. Byrne nailed another difficult kick from out wide.
Glasgow had their moments, yet Cancelliere frustratingly knocked on and they were unable to punish a high number of penalties leaked by Leinster.
An eye-catching Oli Kebble break sparked the best out of Glasgow early in the second half. Following Ronan Kelleher’s sin-binning for a cynical infringement at a ruck, a Brown maul try was ruled out for a ‘flying wedge’ offence.
Cancelliere did register their first points in the 48th minute, on the back of an Alex Samuel surge through the middle, but Glasgow’s challenge gradually petered out.
From a quick tap, the returning Kelleher supported Milne as he piled over the line for Byrne to convert.
Some excellent footwork from replacement Chris Cosgrave teed up Russell’s third try in the 71st minute.
A sixth try followed for the Irish province, McKee latching onto a breaking ball after a kick over the top from Osborne. Byrne’s younger brother Harry converted.
Tries: Kearney, Russell 3, Milne, McKee
Cons: Byrne 5
For Glasgow Warriors:
Leinster: 15 Jamie Osborne, 14 Rob Russell, 13 Liam Turner, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Max Deegan, 7 Scott Penny, 6 Rhys Ruddock (captain), 5 Joe McCarthy, 4 Ross Molony, 3 Thomas Clarkson, 2 Ronan Kelleher, 1 Ed Byrne.
Replacements: 16 John McKee, 17 Michael Milne, 18 Vakhtang Abdaladze, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Ryan Baird, 21 Cormac Foley, 22 Harry Byrne, 23 Chris Cosgrave.
Glasgow Warriors: 15 Josh McKay, 14 Sebastian Cancelliere, 13 Kyle Steyn (captain), 12 Stafford McDowall, 11 Rufus McLean, 10 Tom Jordan, 9 George Horne, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Sione Vailanu, 6 Gregor Brown, 5 Alex Samuel, 4 Sintu Manjezi, 3 Murphy Walker, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Oliver Kebble.
Replacements: 16 Johnny Matthews, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Jean-Pierre du Preez, 20 Lewis Bean, 21 Euan Ferrie, 22 Jamie Dobie, 23 Ross Thompson.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Keane Davison (Ireland), Andy Fogarty (Ireland)
TMO: AJ Jacobs (South Africa)