The Warriors stand-off – who was due to be on the bench against France yesterday before that game was postponed – missed Scotland’s first two matches in the Championship as he was completing his recovery from shoulder surgery. He now faces an anxious wait before learning the length of his ban for this sending-off offence, in which he caught a ball in the air, and, extending his right leg, also caught Cian Kelleher in the face.
The dismissal of their playmaker further handicapped a Glasgow side who had already had debutant Cole Forbes sin-binned and gone 14-0 behind in the first ten minutes. They fought back well in the third quarter and at 28-21 briefly threatened to pull off an upset. But a yellow card for TJ Ioane - on for Richie Gray after the lock had taken what Danny Wilson said was hopefully only a minor head knock - saw them concede two more late scores to the Conference A leaders.
“If I’m honest I was really frustrated with our defence in the first half - I thought defensively we were as bad as we’ve been,” the head coach said after a result which dealt a severe blow to his team’s lingering hopes of finishing in the top three in the conference. “Lack of intent, lack of collision, lack of discipline. We just kind of soaked up and handed them three tries, and all of a sudden you’re looking down the barrel.”
Asked about the red card, Wilson insisted that Hastings had not meant to make contact with Kelleher, but acknowledged that the Warriors could also be without the stand-off for a couple of forthcoming games. “I suppose we’ll have to wait and see what they say about the red and how they deem that in terms of weeks and sanctions.
“By the letter of the law it’s a red card, I suppose. But there’s certainly no intent or anything like that.”
The champions, by contrast, began the match full of intent, and opened the scoring through a close-range Harry Byrne try after a little more than two minutes. A sluggish Warriors defence were soon on the back foot, and went 14-0 down when Forbes took Kelleher out in the air on the right touchline and referee Frank Murphy awarded the penalty try as well as sending the New Zealander to the bin.
Tom Gordon finished off an excellent break by Huw Jones and Hastings converted to give Glasgow a glimmer of hope, but with Forbes still in the bin, Leinster claimed their third. A penalty to touch again began the move, and after Byrne had come close, Scott Penny finished off. The No 8 claimed his own second and his team’s fourth just after Hastings had been red-carded to make it 28-7 at the break.
Glasgow hit back well in the third quarter, with Rufus McLean and Jones going over. But inevitably given their numerical advantage, Leinster finished up the stronger side, and with Ioane sinbinned for diving in on the deck with his shoulder, late tries by Luke McGrath and Kelleher made the points secure.