A delighted Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend heaped praise on his players after one of the great European nights in Scottish rugby history.
Two-time champions Leicester Tigers were hammered 42-13 in a five-try, bonus-point win which thrilled a capacity crowd at Scotstoun and got the home side’s European Champions Cup Pool 1 campaign off to a dream start.
“Parts of the performance were outstanding,” said Townsend, who agreed that the incident which saw Matt Toomua yellow-carded for a tip tackle on Finn Russell had been a turning point.
“It got us energised. The first 15 minutes had seen a lot of mistakes.
“Then after that incident we responded well to that and went at Leicester.
“Though I think the most important incident was conceding the first try and getting the yellow card for offside [for Ryan Wilson].
“I think the players must have got together and said ‘right, we’re going to go at them’. Then we got a try with a man less.”
On the Toomua flashpoint, Townsend added: “I think a yellow was right because Finn didn’t land on his head. That’s the law.”
The coach was adamant that aspects of the performance were far from perfect, shouldering the blame himself for some attacking plays which didn’t come off, but overall could not contain his satisfaction with the result.
“Five tries to one is fantastic and to score over 40 points was excellent. The occasion and supporters were great. It was great to see the players play well but there are points to work on.”
Townsend revealed that Alex Dunbar had come down with a chest infection and praised his replacement Mark Bennett, who clinched the bonus point with a turnover and length-of-the-pitch score. “For Mark to come on late, and Nick Grigg to come on to the bench then on early [after injury to Sam Johnson], I think they both did excellent. Nick tackled well and Mark got a crucial intercept and try.
“It’s been a tough week but now we can watch Munster play Racing on Sunday and have three days of coaching. We’ll need it.”
Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill had no complaints. “We were beaten fair and square,” he said. “We’re not dead in the water yet but clearly we now have a lot of work to do.”