Leinster 20-14 Glasgow Warriors
Leinster welcomed Glasgow to the RDS on Thursday evening in their rearranged Magners League fixture and tries from Fergus McFadden and Girvan Dempsey insured the home side cemented their place at the top of the table. The manner of victory however will not have pleased Leinster management, with the home side being forced to defend for large periods of the game.
Leinster got off the mark quickly through the boot of McFadden. However it was Glasgow who had the better of the early exchanges and had Leinster under sustained pressure for the ensuing 15 minutes. Leinster managed to clear their lines through the boot of Simon Keogh however the response was swift by Glasgow. O’Hare with a great individual effort went half the pitch untouched on a twisting run, dummying McLaughlin to go in under the posts. Jackson converted to leave Glasgow ahead 7-3 with 17mins gone. Leinster got back in touch once again shortly after through the boot of McFadden as he converted a penalty from the 10 metre line.
Isa Nacewa had started brightly for the home team and it was his smart kick down the touchline that led to a Leinster lineout on the Glasgow twenty-two. A slick back move off the lineout sent Nacewa through the heart of the Glasgow defence, he popped it off to Mc Fadden to go in under the posts, the centre dually converted.
McLaughlin was forced off injured with 33 minutes gone giving a first home start to Eoin Sherriff. It was the Lansdowne mans steal from a Glasgow lineout on their own 5 metre line that allowed Dempsey to go over in the corner and Mc Fadden converted from out wide with the help of the post to leave Leinster 20-7 ahead at the break.
The only main action of the second half was after some sustained Glasgow pressure on the Leinster line, Matt Gregor who had come on for Jackson took the ball off the ruck and glided over in the corner. The substitute then converted his own try to leave the score 20-14.
Leinster will be concerned about the number of injuries they sustained, particularly to Berne and McLaughlin. The Irish flanker had his right arm in a sling post match. Michael Cheika commented post match that they “were waiting on the results of a scan, but team doctors do not think its too bad”. On the plus side for the home side Eoin Sherriff was very impressive on his debut, the Lansdowne man was a menace in the line out stealing three opposition throws. Stephen Keogh also looked back to his best for patches, carrying a lot of ball for Leinster.
The main highlight of the game in Cheika’s view was young scrum half Paul O’Donoghue. “He had his best game ever for Leinster and managed the game very well”. Cheika also put the blame on himself for the Clontarf mans lack of game time this season.
A scrappy win that Leinster will now look to build on coming up to the Connacht and Munster games in the coming weeks. They will of course have one eye on the meeting with Clermont Auvergne in the Heineken Cup quarter final at the beginning of April, when they will be able to welcome back a full squad.