Glasgow Warriors 12
LEINSTER CLAIMED A second successive RaboDirect Pro12 title with this initially hard-fought, but later utterly convincing, victory over Glasgow at the RDS.
The result marked the end of nine straight Warriors victories in the competition, with Leinster the side book-ending their late-season march into the the final.
Just as they did in the semi-final against Ulster fortnight ago, Leinster shook off the loss of Brian O’Driscoll to injury to recover a deficit and finish strong.
The difference this time, of course, is that O’Driscoll will not be back, his rugby career cruelly brought to an end with a calf injury after just eight minutes.
Warriors’ rising star at out-half Finn Russell kicked his side into a 6 - 0 lead shortly after the great centre’s exit. But rather than wilt in the face of incessant Glasgow pressure, Leinster were able to inflict the maximum punishment when they did manage to pierce Gregor Townsend’s defensive line.
Zane Kirchner proved to be the tormentor-in-chief to the Scots. The South African ran in Leinster’s opening score after 17 minutes and his line-break before half-time created the second for Shane Jennings.
Russell would add a penalty either side of that score to leave the half-time score at 14 – 12.
The fear from the home support after the break was that the Warriors’ dominance in territory may eventually count for an opening. But as the third quarter wore on, it became clear that it was Leinster and not their visitors who were growing in confidence, strength and stature.
Jimmy Gopperth would vindicate his selection by extending the lead to 20 – 12 with two penalties. And that scoreline with 15 minutes to go, spelled the end for Warriors.
Leinster thrive on situations like this, they so often finish the stronger team and when the opposition has physically and mentally run out of steam, all that was left was for Kirchner and Gordon D’Arcy to turn a tight, intense contest into a rout.
Tries: Kirchner (2), Jennings, D’Arcy.
Conversions: Gopperth (4)
Penalties: Gopperth (2)
Penalties: Russell (4)
Leinster: R Kearney; F McFadden, B O’Driscoll, G D’Arcy, Z Kirchner; J Gopperth, E Reddan; C Healy, S Cronin, M Ross; D Toner, M McCarthy; R Ruddock, S Jennings, J Heaslip (c).
Replacements: A Dundon, J McGrath, M Moore, L Cullen, S O’Brien, I Boss, I Madigan, D Fanning.
Glasgow Warriors: P Murchie; S Maitland, A Dunbar, P Horne, T Seymour; F Russell, C Cusiter; G Reid, D Hall, J Welsh; J Gray, A Kellock (c); R Harley, C Fusaro, J Strauss.
Replacements: P MacArthur, R Grant, M Low, T Swinson, L Nakarawa, N Matawalu, R Jackson, S Lamont.