Sunday 21 January 2018

Blues' Boss rocks The RDS

Leinster are denied Pro12 win by battling Warriors

It is officially the season of crazy rugby as Leinster and Glasgow played out a tumultuous 34-all draw in the PRO12 League at The RDS last night.

It was incumbent on Leinster to show they were better than their fifth-place standing and on Glasgow to show they were not Scotland.

The leaders had to have a sense of how they could confirm their regular season status and how they could put Leinster, the club that denied them in the final last season, in perilous trouble of missing out entirely on the semi-finals.

The late withdrawal of Finn Russell to an ankle injury meant Peter Horne switched to ten and former flanker Richie Vernon came into the inside berth.

There was a ploy from Leinster to put the ball to flight from inside their own half with the chase of Dave Kearney a key component.

A thundering maul from Glasgow concluded with Eoin Reddan giving up a lineout. That was overthrown.

The Scots came again with intent. The offload from Vernon was stunning and Stuart Hogg simply brushed off Eoin Reddan for a try Horne converted.

It went from bad to worse when Hogg's penalty flirted with the corner flag, referee Nigel Owens taking the view that Ali Kellock was hit in the air for another penalty which Horne made for 10-0 in the eleventh minute.

Glasgow did lapse into crossing in midfield and a tumbling Hogg kick that travelled beyond the dead ball line.

It took Leinster all of the first-quarter to threaten, Ben Te'o surging, but Reddan going right when he should have gone left.

Eventually, Madigan's sharp line, another from Te'o and slick hands from Shane Jennings and Jimmy Gopperth set Fergus McFadden up to finish with real drive. Madigan converted immaculately.

It could have been a game-changer. Glasgow simply took this on the chin and came back for Vernon to ground the ball against the upright for Horne to recover the 10-point gap on the half-hour.

A superb kick by Horne gave The Warriors territory and centre Mark Bennett cut a delicious line from the 22 in a twist to the whitewash, Horne's extras taking it out to 24-7 in the 36th minute.

The desperation was evident in the way Leinster tried to hit back from deep, hooker Fraser Brown forcing a penalty which Bennett nailed from 40 metres for 27-7 at the break.

It was almost impossible to see a way back.

Sean Cronin and Cian Healy were introduced and Isaac Boss, on for Reddan, blocked Glenn Bryce, on for Hogg, and seized on the broken ball for a quick-fire try which Madigan converted.

The Leinster scrum churned out a penalty and Gopperth put them in prime location. Josh Strauss was guilty at the ruck. Madigan found three more points in the 48th minute.

Then, Glasgow scrum-half Niko Matawalu was binned for an elbow on Healy. Luke Fitzgerald entered and Jordi Murphy blasted out of two tackles for a brilliant try. Madigan added two more for 27-24 in the 53rd minute.

The magic kept coming. Boss was the spark for Te'o to make the gain line again. Madigan stayed cool. Fitzgerald picked a lovely angle.

Boss exploited the ruck for his second try and the bonus-point fourth. Madigan's conversion made it 24 points in 15 minutes.

It was Glasgow's turn to show character, working an overlap for Bryce to claim their fourth for Horne to level it up in the 75th minute.

leinster 34 glasgow 34

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