Scotstoun had something for everyone yesterday; sunshine, a spanking new plastic pitch, some thumping beats, a full house with an enthusiastic crowd and eight tries in all, four of which came from Glasgow winger Tommy Seymour, who earned a bonus point all on his own and saved his side’s blushes at the same time.
Every one of the scores was well taken, one in the first half and three in the second, and if there is a better finisher in Europe at the moment then he is going some. It’s fair to assume that the man-of-the-match award went uncontested.
In the opening two weeks Glasgow have beaten both of last season’s finalists.
“It was a great reaction in the second half,” said a relieved Glasgow boss Gregor Townsend. “We came up against a very good team. They were able to produce really quick ball in the first half with line breaks, and we should have been further behind at half time.
“We weren’t on our game defensively in the first half. I am delighted that we got through... thanks to Tommy, who played a massive role. He’s in fantastic form. Last week he was outstanding and he is finishing really well.”
Leinster were short of many of their big beasts on the day, but the Dubliners are always tricky to beat and so it proved yesterday. The visitors looked the more fluid team with the ball in hand for long stretches of this contest, making good use of the inside pass.
Both attacks benefited from the new pitch, but even so Leinster broke the Glasgow line with worrying frequency, the home defence failing to match their sparking attacking game.
Glasgow played with tempo if not quite the accuracy that Gregor Townsend would like throughout the match, with too many passes going behind the man. Indiscipline remains a problem with the Warriors on the wrong side of the referee, even if John Lacey’s blowing of the breakdown defies logic.
Henry Pyrgos had already fluffed a penalty attempt when the scrum-half sparked the opening try with an audacious grubber down the right flank which he both kicked and collected. Sila Puafisi carried it up and Sam Johnson found Seymour lurking on the left wing in acres of space for the score.
That was followed up by Tim Swinson, who finished off a long multi-phase attack by barrelling over under the posts.
In between times Leinster got themselves on the board thanks to full-back Dave Kearney, who dived over in the corner. But only after two missed tackles from the men in black gave Jordi Murphy the line break and then Kearney the five pointer.
Glasgow’s Italian winger Leonardo Sarto was carded for tackling the Leinster nine five metres from his own line and it proved a costly mistake, the opposition filling their boots with 15 unanswered points before he returned to the action.
Josh van der Flier took immediate advantage by coming right through the middle of a breakdown and touching down unopposed from 30 yards out. Worse was to follow for the home support as fly-half Joey Carbery picked out Zane Kirchner with a cross-field kick that bounced kindly for the right winger, who gave the visitors a 19-12 lead at the break which was extended by another three early in the second half.
Just when the crowd was beginning to get antsy Seymour popped up with a brace of tries in as many minutes to reclaim the lead. The first was a Seymour special, an interception on the opposition 22. Two minutes later Seymour was running much the same line after a simple turnover, beating three defenders to the try line.
A four-point game became a one point game when Carbery kicked his second penalty 18 minutes from time. Seymour almost claimed his fourth try in the corner and Hogg missed a Hail Mary penalty from the halfway line.
Glasgow opted for a scrum rather than an easy three points eight minutes form time, but a training ground move saw Seymour claim his fourth try of the afternoon and it was only appropriate that Leinster were beaten by an inside pass.
SCORERS: Glasgow: Tries: Seymour 4, Swinson. Cons: Pyrgos 4. leinster: Tries: D Kearney, van der Flier, Kirchner. Cons: Carbery 2. Pens: Carbery 2. Glasgow: Hogg; Sarto (Jones 68), Dunbar, Johnson, Seymour; Horne, Pyrgos; Reid (Allan 68), Brown (Flynn 68), Puafisi (Fagerson 48), Swinson (Uanivi 76), Gray, Harley, Favaro (Wynne 68), Wilson.
Leinster: R Kearney (O’Loughlin 58); Kirchner, Ringrose, Reid, D Kearney; Carbery, McGrath; Healy (Dooley 58), Tracy (Byrne 58), Bent (Furlong 46), Molony, McCarthy (M Kearney58), Leavy (Ryan 69), van der Flier, Murphy.
Referee: J Lacey (IRFU). Attendance: 7,251