Glasgow edge Leinster in Dublin thriller
PRO14 REPORT: Glasgow Warriors put in a display characterised by resilience and punctuated with glorious tries as they ended Leinster’s unbeaten record at the RDS Arena with a 39-24 triumph.
In a strangely serendipitous affair, there were six of the game’s nine tries were split between two sets of brothers on each side: the Kearneys notching two apiece, with the Fagersons grabbing the telling Warriors scores that sealed victory.
A see-saw affair, Glasgow came from behind thanks to Zander and Matt, grabbing a vital victory in their bid for the Guinness PRO14 Final Series.
A Ross Byrne yellow for an off-the-ball tackle handed the Warriors early initiative, but they looked to have botched their advantage when the hosts went ahead through ball worked towards the Glasgow line, then moved wide to Dave Kearney, the wing cutting inside clinically to score.
A pair of Adam Hastings penalties put the visitors back in front, and they soon extended their lead.
Straight from kick-off, the Warriors gathered and looked to break, Ali Price the man who spotted a gap behind a ruck, plucked the ball up and scampered through it, before back-handing a delightful pass inside to Sam Johnson at full pelt, who held off Byrne to cap a scintillating score.
Stung by the Warriors’ blitz, Leinster took time to reassert themselves in the game, but when it happened it was in typically pragmatic style.
Huffing and puffing, going through what seemed like innumerable phases without error, the hosts found themselves camped outside the Warriors’ line.
In fact, it took a Leinster error for them to force the score, as Rob Kearney juggled a hot ball, inadvertently knocking it over the last line of Warriors defence before gathering on the other side and dotting down for his first try in blue since 2016.
But the Warriors weren’t to be cowed, and chose to go straight back in search of points rather than consolidate with their lot.
And points they got, Hastings lofting an irresistible pass out to Tommy Seymour at close range, who did the rest and put the Warriors up 18-12 at the break.
But just like London buses, Rob Kearney found that in breaking his long drought, he had in fact opened the floodgates as he put Leinster in front after another exhaustive set from the hosts, Jamison Gibson-Park electing to go down the blindside, with Kearney the beneficiary as he stretched in the corner.
Not to be outdone, however, Dave soon doubled up, Ross Byrne shifting the play before Rob teed up his sibling in what was becoming a fraternal game of one-upmanship.
But Glasgow had soon quashed the side-show as they packed a driving line-out maul that went all the way over, Matt Fagerson emerging from the bottom of the pile with the kudos, before a Hastings conversion put the Warriors back in front.
The visitors kept up the brotherly theme when Zander Fagerson bulldozed over from close-range, giving Glasgow a vital bonus point win, with George Horne putting the icing on the cake with a final try at the death.
Tries: R Kearney 2, D Kearney 2
Cons: Byrne 2
Tries: Johnson, Seymour, Z Fagerson, M Fagerson, Horne
Cons: Hastings 4
Pens: Hastings 2
Yellow card: Ross Byrne (Leinster, 3)
Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Jordan Larmour, 13 Joe Tomane, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Caelan Doris, 7 Seán O’Brien (captain), 6 Josh Murphy, 5 Jack Dunne, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Michael Bent, 2 James Tracy, 1 Ed Byrne.
Replacements: 16 Seán Cronin, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Will Connors, 20 Max Deegan, 21 Hugh O’Sullivan, 22 Ciarán Frawley, 23 Adam Byrne.
Glasgow: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Kyle Steyn, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Niko Matawalu, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Ali Price, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Chris Fusaro (captain), 6 Rob Harley, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Scott Cummings 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Jamie Bhatti.
Replacements: 16 Grant Stewart, 17 Alex Allan, 18 D’Arcy Rae, 19 Bruce Flockhart, 20 Adam Ashe, 21 George Horne, 22 Pete Horne, 23 Huw Jones.
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant referees: Joy Neville (Ireland), Mateo Liperini (Italy)
TMO: Olly Hodges (Ireland)