Wednesday 19 December 2018

leinster fail in last-gasp raid

O'Connor lauds 'courage' of comeback despite falling short

It was one that Leinster could have won, but wouldn't have deserved to.

Glasgow Warriors know better than most you don't always get what you deserve. On this occasion, their mental fragility was stiffened up by Leinster indiscipline which allowed Stuart Hogg to strike the winning points for a last-minute 22-20 victory in Scotstoun.

"We were second for large parts of it," admitted Leinster coach Matt O'Connor.

"The courage and the grit to come back and put ourselves in a position to win the game was first class from us.

"That will give us a lot of confidence for next week against The Scarlets at The RDS and in moving forward for the rest of the season".

Coach O'Connor must have been seething with the 14 missed tackles in the first-half - Leinster fluffed 26 over the 80 minutes - that simply handed front-foot ball to The Warriors.

The Scottish club is simply too advanced at this stage under Gregor Townsend to let such dominance through contact go to waste as they built a 19-3 by the interval.

"It was a very tough breeze, probably worth 10 or 12 points. From that end, it wasn't a massive shock to us," noted O'Connor.

"We were disappointed with the first-half performance, but it was always going to be testing against a class side in a game of competitive footie with some of our players one or two weeks under-prepared from not having played much.

"It was a matter of getting a foothold in the game, trying to get a little bit better field position and a little more possession and taking it from there.

"We were pretty confident at half-time that if we could do those things we would be in with a chance of getting a result".

They did sharpen up with Zane Kirchner excellent from full-back and Ian Madigan giving them a threat on the ground aided by significant impact off the bench from prop Tadhg Furlong, scrum-half Luke McGrath and try-scorers Tom Denton and Jack McGrath.

"I thought the bench was fantastic for us. Everybody certainly made an impact. It was exactly what we needed at that time. They were huge for us," said O'Connor.


When Denton latched into an overthrown lineout for a try to which Jimmy Gopperth landed a conversion Leinster moved ahead for the first time in the 76th minute.

It looked like the champions were on the verge of bucking the trend of possession, territory, metres made and tackles missed, all in favour of the home side.

However, McGrath overcooked a ball direct into touch. Then, there were three missed tackles and two penalties conceded, the second one by the hasty advance of Denton and Fergus McFadden in Glasgow's brilliant lead-up to Stuart Hogg's match winner.

"It was a great win, we were playing against the champions and to get any win against them is obviously a massive boost for us," reacted Glasgow coach Gregor Townsend.

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