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Leinster Rugby (13) 19 - 23 (10) Glasgow Warriors
RDS Showground, Dublin
Saturday, 17th September, 2011, 18:00

On a historic day for Irish rugby it was disappointment for Leinster whose undefeated home record of 28 games in all competitions came to an end. History was also made for Glasgow who at the 13thattempt defeated Leinster 23-19 on home soil for the very first time. With Leinster making up half the Irish squad, and providing 9 out of the 15 starters in the game against Australia, perhaps something had to give. Still, spoilt as we are under the Cheika and Joe Schmidt eras, Leinster fans hoped that the elation of seeing Ireland beat Australia for the first time in a world cup, bridging a gap of more than 30 years since we last beat them in the southern hemisphere could be backed up with a home win over Glasgow on Saturday night.

From the kick off it looked as though our hopes would be realised with Leinster applying all the early pressure. This was rewarded with a converted penalty by Isa Nacewa on the 4th minute. Leinster continued their bright start with breaks from Fionn Carr and Like Fitzgerald, who both looked sharp and full of intent. A series of plays led to a Leinster scrum under the posts from which Dave Kearney almost went over, but Leinster were denied and had to be satisfied with another successful penalty kick from Nacewa. From the restart a lively Eoin O'Malley ran out of Leinsters 22 on a run that looked promising, support play was slow to follow him however and the centre had no choice but to hang on and give away a penalty, which Glasgow converted. Turn over ball in Glasgow's 22 lead to a series of clever plays by Glasgow and ended with them breaching the Leinster line for a converted try. Glasgow were now leading 10-6 and had their tails up. They kept the Leinster defence under pressure for the next 5 minutes, but the Leinster line held firm and the siege was lifted when the Leinster back row turned over Glasgow ball. A number of plays later and Toner won clean ball off the top of a Leinster line out, which went through the hands to send Ian Madigan over for a great Leinster try. Advantage Leinster, but only just as the half ended 13-10.

Glasgow started brightly in the second half and soon were rewarded with a successful penalty to level the scores. At 13-13 this was turning into an arm wrestle and Leinster could not break free of the strangle hold Glasgow had on the match. On the 50 minute Glasgow's Ryan Harley was binned for persistent infringements. Minutes later Glasgow ended a number of promising Leinster plays with persistent off sides, which were penalised by the referee who failed to produce a much warranted second yellow. Although Leinster were now 6 points ahead, more and more they were being sucked into playing the game on Glasgows terms. When the six point lead was again reduced to three, you felt that Leinster needed a try to break the dead lock once and for all. Although Leinster worked the hardest, it seemed that Glasgow were playing the smarter game, when sustained Leinster pressure was worked into a breakout by Glasgow which ultimately ended with a try for Glasgows Peter Horne. For the next 15 minutes Leinster threw the kitchen sink at Glasgow, but to no avail. At the final whistle you could see what it meant to Glasgow, who just about deserved their win. Leinster will regret not finding the cutting edge to turn possession into points.

It was a hard night for Leinster's young guns, but hard lessons will stand to them. They have the character and skill to bounce back. It won't be easy however, with so many Leinster players on world cup duty and a mounting injury list that includes Horgan, Berguist, Conway, Sykes as well as others. Let's hope that Hagan, McLaughlin and Ryan, the latter going off with a serious looking ankle injury don't add to the list. It looks like Leinsters sacrifice to Irelands cause will be costly over the coming months.

On a happier note it was good to see the real Leo the Lion back in action, please don't leave us again ! It was also a big night for Leo Auva'a , starting a competitive game for the first time and well as Jordi Murphy making his competitive debut.

Team Lineups

Leinster Rugby

Glasgow Warriors
Teams Isa Nacewa
15 Stuart Hogg
Fionn Carr
14 Federico Aramburu
Eoin O'Malley 13 Rob Dewey
Luke Fitzgerald
12 Troy Nathan
David Kearney 11 Colin Shaw
Ian Madigan 10 Scott Wight
Cillian Willis
9 Henry Pyrgos

Heinke van der Merwe 1 Ryan Grant
Richardt Strauss
2 Finlay Gillies
Jamie Hagan
3 Ed Kalman
Kevin McLaughlin 4 Tom Ryder
Devin Toner 5 Nick Campbell
Rhys Ruddock (C) 6 Rob Harley (C)
Dominic Ryan 7 Chris Fusaro
Leo Auva'a 8 Rory Pitman

Replacements Aaron Dundon 16 Pat MacArthur
Jack McGrath 17 Gordon Reid
Nathan White 18 Mike Cusack
Damian Browne
19 James Eddie
Jordi Murphy
20 Duncan Weir
John Cooney 21 Ryan Wilson
Brendan Macken
22 Colin Gregor
Darren Hudson 23 Peter Horne

Not Considered
due to Injury
Mat Berquist
Steven Sykes,
Eamonn Sheridan,
Shane Horgan,
Simon Shawe,
Andrew Conway

Johnnie Beattie,
Alex Dunbar,
Calum Forrester,
Dave McCall,
Peter Murchie,
Tommy Seymour,
Fergus Thomson,
Jon Welsh
Officials Referee: Andrew McMenemy (SRU),
Assistant Referees: John Lacey (IRFU), Trevor Collins (IRFU),
4th Official: Ed Kenny (Leinster Rugby Referees),
5th Official: Gordon Murray (Leinster Rugby Referees)

by Eugene Canavan, © 2011-09-19