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'He bossed the guys around and he's loving it': Sexton makes the big calls for Leinster

The out-half led from the front with 17 points as Leo Cullen’s side ended Glasgow’s European hopes.

Leinster have now got maximum points from two Pool 3 games.
Leinster have now got maximum points from two Pool 3 games.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Ryan Bailey reports from Scotstoun 

ULTIMATELY, THIS WAS a tale of three penalties. Minutes after Stuart Hogg had missed a long-range effort, Johnny Sexton — into a stiff breeze — refused the tee and kicked for the corner. The momentum was with Leinster, and the out-half backed his forwards.

On both occasions, Leinster came away with seven points, both through Cian Healy, and the contest had swung definitively in the visitors’ favours. Leinster’s pack obliterated Glasgow, much like Exeter had done to the Scots seven days previous, and the eastern province were on their way to a 34-18 bonus-point win.

It wasn’t the ultimate performance — the missed tackle count was high again — but this was about as near as perfect as Leo Cullen could have hoped for at a ground where their record to this point was poor.

Sexton steered Leinster, but there were dominant performances from Rhys Ruddock, the man of the match, and Tadhg Furlong while Healy reminded everyone of what he can still do in a timely and emphatic manner.

Leinster now sit pretty at the top of pool 3 with 10 points from a possible 10 following bonus-point victories over Montpellier and now the Warriors. They’re in a good place.

“It certainly wasn’t easy,” Leo Cullen said afterwards. “We prepped for difficult conditions and the two big moments were when Johnny backed the forwards to go for drives, one of them on the far side and one just before half time.

“We started the second half well but Glasgow are a constant threat, particularly Stuart Hogg at 15 and Tommy Seymour on the right wing while Finn Russell is a box of tricks as well. We needed to be on our toes all the time.

“We expected a very physical team because they can mix it up and be confrontational in the ruck as well as being dangerous out wide. We slipped off a few tackles today and we are still trying to work on a few combinations defensively, we have been chopping and changing at midfield. We missed a number of tackles, we can get better at that, the same as last week. It’s still early in the season.”

Johnny Sexton kicks forward Sexton scored 17 points for Leinster. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Even still, Leinster are building nicely.

Healy’s first-half double was followed up by Sexton’s sensational score, involving his delightful wraparound with Scott Fardy, before Noel Reid rounded off a fine day’s work.

“Probably our forwards laid the platform for us and then we are more in control of the game and can play the game in the right areas of the field as a result of those tries,” Cullen continued.

“Lovely hands from Scott Fardy for the Sexton try. He ran some good lines during the course of the game. Glasgow were disjointed, having to bring guys on for guys going off for HIAs, we’ve been there before at home when we lost to Wasps a couple of years ago, we lost a few through head knocks.

“They were patched together at the end and Noel Reid took a great ball on the inside and finished well.”

Glasgow were guilty of making the same mistakes as last week, with their European campaign now in tatters. Leinster exposed their set-piece vulnerability and were clinical in dispatching them.

Hogg gave the hosts the perfect start but the turning point was when Leonardo Sarto hit Sexton late. It only riled the out-half, his frustration with the officials fuelling a passionate display. He made those big calls, match-defining calls.

“I thought he showed really good composure and he backed the forwards and the forwards delivered for them,” Cullen added.

“He’s leading the team really well, losing Isa last week was a blow and Noel Reid came out very well and he got the try at the end. He bossed the guys around, and he’s loving it.”

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Sexton inspires Leinster to big win in Glasgow as Cullen’s men seize control of pool

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