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Leinster come from 20 down to share eight tries in thrilling draw with Glasgow

Last year’s finalists both take three points from a brilliant match.

Leinster 34

Glasgow Warriors 34

24 POINTS IN A whirlwind 15 minutes rescued what seemed to be an insurmountable deficit as Leinster recovered to draw against Glasgow.

Tries from Stuart Hogg, Richie Vernon and Mark Bennett had given the leaders a commanding 7 – 27 lead at the break in the RDS, but the hosts would race out of the traps after the break to overhaul the deficit in style.

Two tries from replacement scrum-half Isaac Boss formed the largest chunk of the comeback, sandwiching a 25 metre gallop to the try-line from Jordi Murphy.

Isaac Boss scores his side's second try despite Connor Braid and Jonny Gray Source: James Crombie/INPHO

However, the Scottish side were not to be cowed by mere momentum, and the Warriors would match Leinster’s bonus point with a late try to ensure this game’s halves both finished 27 – 7. 

Warriors started without international star number 10 Finn Russell after he suffered an ankle injury in training yesterday. In his stead Peter Horne shifted in one place from centre and kicked each and every one of his opportunities, matching Ian Madigan shot for shot.

One of Vernon’s first acts would yield a try. The home side seemed intent on carrying the spirit of the Six Nations epic finale by running the ball from their 22. Unfortunately for the home fans watching on, the move was stopped short. And once Glasgow recovered the ball in Leinster territory they went probing right through Tommy Seymour and quickly flooded back into the centre where Vernon got a smart offload away to allow Hogg slide the ball up to the foot of the post.

Pressure

With Ali Kellock starting in bullish form, the hosts took some time to get into their rhythm. By the 20-minute mark they found it and forced their guests to defend phase after phase of pressure. The white wall finally yielded after a re-set scrum. Gopperth broke the line off first phase, but Leinster had to keep up the intensity of their carries until quick hands from Madigan and the number 10 gave McFadden the one on one chance he needed to crash onto the line for a try.

That, however, was merely an ebb rather than a sign of the flow to the first 40. Glasgow went right down the other end and restored their 10-point advantage when Vernon burrowed a route to the post.

When scrum-half Niko Matawalu picked out Bennett on a scything 34th minute line through Madigan and Te’o's midfield the game looked done and dusted. Though he was tackled on his 30 metre burst for the line, the international centre managed to twist and ground the ball.

Eoin Reddan goes off injured Eoin Reddan was a first-half casualty for Matt O'Connor. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Horne compounded Leinster’s first-half misery by landing a huge penalty on the whistle to extend his side’s lead to 7 – 27 at the interval.

The big guns were released off the bench for the second period in the formidable shape of Cian Healy and Sean Cronin and Leinster instantly found their lifeline. Isaac Boss forced a seven-pointer with a strong chargedown on Horne to ground the ball himself in the left corner. No matter what the angle, Madigan was consistently bisecting the posts.

Within 10 minutes that renewed hope was turned into outright expectation. No sooner had Niko Matawalu been sin-binned for an elbow on Healy than Murphy took full advantage of the fresh gap in the defensive line and needed only one strong hand-off to give himself room to romp to the try-line.

Latch

The introduction of Luke Fitzgerald in the 50th minute well and truly underlined the way the tide had turned. A guttural ‘Luuuke’ rang around the ground before the replacement latched on to Madigan’s pass on the 22, broke towards the posta before feeding Boss his second try. The score meant more than the lead, it was a bonus point in a game that had seemed lost to the home side.

Townsend’s side looked cooked by the time Madigan delivered his next score, but that penalty was only enough for a seven point lead and the league leaders were in no mood to let that opportunity pass easily. The game was all tied up with Bryce’s 77th minute try from a sublime pass from Henry Pyrgos.

Horne rounded off a faultless show of kicking in a remarkable game. The game’s eighth conversion promised a grandstand finish, yet it fizzled out with a penalising whistle by the time Leinster crossed halfway.

The shared bonus points leave Leinster still eight points adrift of the leaders, but they move into fourth place ahead of the Ospreys before the Welsh side take the field this weekend.

Scorers:

Leinster

Tries: F McFadden, I Boss (2), J Murphy.

Conversions: I Madigan (4)

Penalties: I Madigan (2)

Glasgow

Tries: S Hogg, R Vernon, M Bennett, G Bryce.

Conversions: P Horne (4)

Penalties: P Horne (2).

Leinster

15. Zane Kirchner
14. Fergus McFadden (Luke Fitzgerald ’50)
13. Ben Te’o (G D’Arcy ’71)
12. Ian Madigan
11. Dave Kearney
10. Jimmy Gopperth
9. Eoin Reddan (Isaac Boss ’33)

1. Michael Bent (Cian Healy ’40)
2. Richardt Strauss (Sean Cronin ’40)
3. Marty Moore (Tadgh Furlong ’53)
4. Tom Denton
5. Mike McCarthy
6. Jordi Murphy
7. Shane Jennings (captain)
8. Jack Conan (Dominic Ryan ’66)

Glasgow

15. Stuart Hogg (Glenn Bryce ’38)
14. Tommy Seymour
13. Mark Bennett
12. Richie Vernon (Connor Braid ’40)
11. DTH van der Merwe
10. Peter Horne
9. Niko Matawalu (Henry Pyrgos ’62)

1. Alex Allan (Jerry Yanuyanutawa ’62)
2. Fraser Brown (Josh Strauss ’66)
3. Zander Fagerson (Mike Cusack ’9)
4. Tim Swinson
5. Al Kellock (Jonny Gray ’50)
6. Rob Harley
7. Chris Fusaro (Pat MacArthur ’46)
8. Josh Strauss (Adam Ashe ’40)

Referee: Nigel Owens

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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