Leinster cruise into semifinal with 12-try rout of Warriors
MATCH REPORT: Leinster will host the Bulls in the United Rugby Championship semifinal in Dublin next Friday.
The Irish province brushed away the challenge of Scottish outfit Glasgow Warriors at the RDS Arena in the quarterfinal on Saturday, winning at a canter – 76-14.
Outscoring the visitors by 12 tries to two, they were never really troubled – even though a Zander Fagerson try gave the Warriors am early lead.
For most of the 80 minutes it was one-way traffic, with the Irish team, dominating the lackluster Scottish visitors.
* To recap all the drama, CLICK HERE!
Richie Gray’s first-half sin-binning was punished with three tries, including Joe McCarthy’s first for Leinster, as the Irish team Champions Cup disappointment behind them and galloped into a 26-7 half-time lead.
Dan Sheehan bagged a brace and the electric Jordan Larmour also crossed as Glasgow’s initial seven-point advantage – thanks to Zander Fagerson’s fourth-minute effort – was ominously washed away.
Leo Cullen’s men finished with an eye-watering 12 tries – a new URC record for them – as Caelan Doris, Michael Ala’alatoa, Jamison Gibson-Park, Garry Ringrose, Larmour, Ciaran Frawley, Luke McGrath and Jimmy O’Brien completed the rout.
Their points haul of 76 was also the highest for a single match in the competition’s history.
Warriors’ only consolation was replacement George Horne’s converted score on the hour mark.
James Ryan coughed up a couple of early penalties, Glasgow turning down a simple place-kick before prop Fagerson powered over from close range with Ross Thompson converting.
However, the hosts immediately profited from Gray’s yellow – his right arm caught Gibson-Park’s face at a ruck – and the resulting line-out drive saw Sheehan score.
Flyhalf Ross Byrne converted and also added the extras to Larmour’s 16th-minute effort, the winger released for the line after Gibson-Park had regained possession from a batted-down pass.
Young lock McCarthy picked from a ruck to extend Leinster’s lead, the TMO review ruling out a knock-on. Byrne slotted the extras to make it 21-7.
Sam Johnson reignited the Glasgow attack with a rampaging run before Gregor Brown was denied a try when Larmour ripped the ball away.
A late attack delivered Sheehan’s try, and Leinster needed just under three minutes of the second half to work Doris over for their fifth, converted by Byrne.
Glasgow fullback Ollie Smith went to the bin for a deliberate knock-on, with Ala’alatoa then burrowing over for Byrne to convert.
Larmour was twice released out wide, setting up back-to-back tries for Gibson-Park and Ringrose as the Blues passed the half-century mark.
Kiran McDonald offloaded for Horne to grab Glasgow’s second seven-pointer, but sharp hands from Robbie Henshaw and O’Brien made it a deserved double for Larmour.
Frawley, with an interception, and replacement McGrath rubbed salt into Glasgow wounds before O’Brien wrapped up a record-breaking day for the URC title favourites. Replacement Harry Byrne tagged on two conversions.
Player of the match
Centre Johnson and skipper Ryan Wilson toiled away for a well-beaten Warriors who were overwhelmed in the end. Sheehan and Doris were very effective for Leinster, but Larmour – following up on his excellent Round 18 display against Munster – showed how devastating he can be as a running threat, both in midfield and out wide.
Play of the match
Leinster hit another gear during the third quarter, attacking in the wide channels and getting the best out of the fleet-footed Larmour. With Smith off the field, Larmour carved through with two brilliant sidesteps and fed Ringrose for a real peach of a score that began back inside the hosts’ half.
Tries: Sheehan 2, Larmour 2, McCarthy, Doris, Ala’alatoa, Gibson-Park, Ringrose, Frawley, McGrath, O’Brien
Cons: R Byrne 6, H Byrne 2
For Glasgow Warriors
Tries: Fagerson, Horne
Cons: Thompson 2
Yellow cards: Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors, 14 – foul play, dangerous clearing out at ruck), Ollie Smith (Glasgow Warriors, 46 – cynical foul, deliberate knock-down)
Leinster: 15 Jimmy O’Brien, 14 Jordan Larmour, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Ciarán Frawley, 11 Rory O’Loughlin, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Caelan Doris, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Ryan Baird, 5 James Ryan (captain), 4 Joe McCarthy, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Andrew Porter.
Replacements: 16 Seán Cronin, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Michael Ala’alatoa, 19 Ross Molony, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Harry Byrne, 23 Robbie Henshaw.
Glasgow Warriors: 15 Ollie Smith, 14 Josh McKay, 13 Sione Tuipulotu, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Rufus McLean, 10 Ross Thompson, 9 Ali Price, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Gregor Brown, 6 Ryan Wilson (captain), 5 Richie Gray, 4 Rob Harley, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 George Turner, 1 Jamie Bhatti.
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Lewis Bean, 20 Kiran McDonald, 21 Thomas Gordon, 22 George Horne, 23 Domingo Miotti.
Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy)
Assistant referees: Craig Evans (Wales), Gianluca Gnecchi (Italy)
TMO: Matteo Lipperini (Italy)