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October 31, 2003
Glasgow Warriors 10 - 31 Leinster Lions
GUINNESS PRO14 match played at Hughenden on Friday October 31st 2003 | No comments
It was hard to escape the sense of this game as John the Baptist before the suffering of our rugby lords in Sydney. But at least John the Baptist was preparing the way for one who would come after.
There were precious few signs of any Scottish rugby Messiahs in this Glasgow side, well beaten by a Leinster team who just did everything better than their hosts. You know, stuff like running, passing, catching, kicking; what we used to think of as basic skills but which are apparently well beyond Scotland’s professional rugby players.
On this showing, they are doing something right in Irish rugby that Scotland is nowhere near. No wonder there is such a gap between the two national sides. They are even getting our sponsors. Leinster are sponsored by the Bank of Scotland.
It took some time for either side to find their feet, perhaps because afternoon drizzle had made the surface greasy. Nearly ten minutes of largely aimless rugby ended with Leinster getting caught holding on on their ten yard line and Daniel Parks drawing first blood - well, it was Hallowe’en - for Glasgow.
But for Glasgow the horrors were only just beginning, It didn’t take long for Leinster to reply, working it first up the blindside for a couple of phases and then spinning it wide, catching Glasgow offside. Brian O’Meara, Leinster’s place-kicking scrum-half took the opportunity to restore parity.
A distant drop-goal attempt by Parks a few minutes later drifted well wide as did a long range penalty, after some very quick work in the backs had threatened to crack the Leinster defence wide open.
But approaching the half hour it became clear that more and more possession was going Leinster’s way and they were beginning to make it count. Only a knock on in the centre saved Glasgow from one try, and although they temporarily lifted the siege a front-row offence gave away a penalty near half way. Leinster kicked for touch on the 22, took good possession at the resulting lineout and drove on until they released their runners -first the big lock Aidan Kearney, then fly half Matthew Leek.
Desperate tackling kept them out but the ball came back Leinster’s way from a ruck on the line and up popped the right winger Peter McKenna to score in the corner. O‘Meara kicked an impressive touchline conversion.
Leinster kept the pressure on, forcing further infringements from the Glasgow defence and allowing O’Meara to push further head with two more penalties. Glasgow were seeing very little of the ball. Graeme Morrison might have scored for Glasgow just before the half time whistle if he had pressed home his half break after a quick free kick instead of looking for support. But it said a lot about Glasgow’s night that Glasgow gave away a penalty at the break down and went in 16-3 down.
Leinster then came out even stronger after the break. It wasn’t that Glasgow missed the tackles but that the ball was easily going faster than the man. Within five minutes, Leinster had conjured another try after several phases of possession.
Eventually, Leek fed his full back D’Arcy on the narrow side who fed McKenna. For an instant it looked as if Lamont had made a good smothering tackle but once again McKenna found a way of releasing the ball back to D’Arcy who made the final few metres. O’Meara converted.
Glasgow attempted to ring the changes bringing on Howarth and and Maclure in the backs for Parks and Morrison before ten minutes of the second half had elapsed. It made very little difference. What little possession Glasgow won, they kicked away or lost in contact - there must have been a dozen turnovers against them.
Occasionally there signs that Glasgow had played the game before, some swift long passing along the line, the occasional half break. But time and again, simple errors, throttled any move at birth.
Leinster were fortunate to get a further penalty award after Pinder was harshly penalised for charging down a kick at the base of a scrum. It finally galvanised a moment of determined attacking from Glasgow
Rory Kerr made a good break down the right and eventually Rory McKay, on for the injured Paul Dearlove, got the score. But by now there were less than ten minutes to go, and any thought of a Glasgow revival was firmly kicked into touch when Kearney intercepted some more pat-a-cake passing from Glasgow in midfield and ran in from 40 metres. O’Meara finally missed something with the boot, the first time all evening.
Report by Robert Scott of The Scotsman
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