12172017

Four-try Leinster win at Glasgow in Champions Cup

Cian Healy scores a try

The second of Cian Healy’s tries put Leinster in front before the break

Glasgow Warriors’ Champions Cup hopes were left hanging by a thread as Leinster took the spoils at Scotstoun.

Stuart Hogg, making his first appearance of the season, struck first for the hosts, but two tries from Cian Healy put the Irish in front.

Johnny Sexton coasted over after the break as Leinster took control.

Tommy Seymour touched down to give Glasgow hope but Noel Reid’s try extinguished that and secured a bonus point for the visitors.

It puts Leinster in charge at the top of Pool 3. For Glasgow, no points from two games would suggest their hopes of progression to the knockout stage are as good as done.

In Hogg’s absence this season following shoulder surgery, Ruaridh Jackson has performed superbly in the full-back role for Glasgow.

However, for a match of this magnitude, and providing he could prove his fitness, the two-time British and Irish Lion was always going to be in from the start.

It did not take him long to show why. A searing break out wide put Leinster on the back foot and eventually led to Finn Russell kicking three points to cancel out Sexton’s earlier penalty for the visitors.

Shortly after Hogg touched down for the game’s opening try. Russell’s clever grubber kick had the Irish defence scrambling, Tommy Seymour kicked it on and Hogg won the race – against the cover defence and the dead-ball line – to ground the ball.

Stuart Hogg scores a try<!–

Hogg last played during the British and Irish Lions’ summer tour to New Zealand

Leinster knew victory in Glasgow, after a hard-earned opening-day win over Vern Cotter’s Montpellier in Dublin, would put them in the box seat in what is widely recognised as the toughest pool in the competition. Their response to falling behind was impressive.

Perhaps taking heed of how Exeter’s big ball carriers wore down the Glasgow defence last weekend, Leinster adopted a similar tactic. Time after time they punched holes in the home defence until Healy was close enough to blast over the line.

The first half was an even affair, and yet Leinster struck a critical blow right on half-time to claim the initiative.

The Glasgow scrum creaked badly on halfway, pushed back towards their own 10-metre line before the referee blew his whistle. Sexton made the gutsy decision to kick for touch rather than goal, and it proved an inspired call.

The Leinster pack took the rolling maul from the line-out from the 22-metre line to the try-line, and as Glasgow grimly tried to halt their progress, Healy was the man again in the right place at the right time to go over.

Sexton’s influence on the game was growing, and he crafted a lovely try to put the visitors firmly in control early in the second half.

The Ireland fly-half’s loop around plays are no great secret, but planning for them and stopping them are two different things. Sexton fed Scott Fardy and received a lovely return pass from the lock to glide under the posts untouched.

At 24-10 Glasgow were now in a serious hole. Time for their big players to step up, and who better than the team’s two Lions.

Slick passing put Hogg in space and he delayed his pass just long enough to put Seymour over in the corner.

Sam Johnson’s barnstorming break took Glasgow from their own 22m to the other, but the centre forced the offload and the chance was lost.

Russell struck from the tee to bring Warriors back to within six points, but Sexton hit straight back with a penalty of his own to check the home side’s revival.

Three times winners of this competition, Leinster kept Glasgow at arm’s length for the remainder of the game, and Reid’s solo try added the gloss, and bonus point, to an excellent day’s work for the Irish province.

Glasgow Warriors: Hogg, Seymour, Johnson, Horne, Sarto, Russell, Price; Bhatti, Turner, Fagerson, Swinson, Gray, Wilson, Gibbins, Ashe.

Replacements: MacArthur, Allan, Rae, Cummings, Harley, Pyrgos, Grigg, Jones.

Leinster: Carbery, McFadden, Henshaw, Reid, Daly, Sexton, McGrath, Healy, Cronin, Furlong, Toner, Fardy, Ruddock, Van der Flier, Conan

Replacements: Tracy, McGrath, Bent, Ryan, Leavy, Gibson-Park, Byrne, Kearney.

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