Monday, June 06, 2022

Leinster-76 Glasgow Warriors-14

D4GGER

I never really was a fan of "Chelsea Dagger" being played over the RDS sound system after every Leinster try. I've always thought the opening riff from U2's "Elevation" might be a lot more location-appropriate, although any song by a band from the 12 counties (also perhaps one that my kids wouldn't call "dinosaurs") would be fine once the sound was right.


And after what happened on Saturday afternoon, since the Fratellis happen to hail from Glasgow, I have a funny feeling the Warriors might just agree with me having been subjected to it a dozen times.


Long before the full time whistle it was clear what the narrative would be from both media and fans outside of Leinster. Never mind our performance or what it means to us, this was all about how poor Glasgow were and also it "paints the competition in a bad light".


I guess I can't really argue with the first point; I mean to be fair the Warriors did start well and clearly came to the RDS with a few tricks up their sleeve to at least try to lay a glove on us, but in the end they capitulated almost precisely the way their superfan David "@thepenGW" Arnott predicted on our podcast during the week, with both defence and discipline generally poor in equal measure.


But on the competition thing I might push back a little. Leinster may have won just 3 more matches than Glasgow during the regular season but the gap of 237 in points difference shows you exactly why we finished 1st and they 8th. Much like our win over Bath in January, about which many also complained, we earned this opposition, and those making the "devalue" argument know this full well, which leads me to believe it comes more from disappointment in our success than anything else.


Plus when you consider the other three quarterfinals saw the losing Sharks, Edinburgh and Munster all much more in contention (albeit in varying degrees) then I think it's safe to say that seven out of eight worthy playoff contenders isn't such a bad thing for the league.


As far as Leinster fans go, this was a good performance and a powerful result, on a bright (if really, really cold for some reason) day back at the RDS where we hadn't been since February. And while it may not have told us much about our chances of winning this new competition, it was definitely an excellent way to put last weekend behind us and refocus on the journey ahead.


So if you don't mind I'm going to do my writeup not by splitting the match into quarters as I have done for the past while, rather by relating the tries and other keys moments throughout.


FAGERSON (THOMPSON CON) 0-7

It looks like one of those contests were they need to at least stay within a score of us as long as possible which means their confidence will grow, although if you're looking for a "cheeky bet" I would not bat an eyelid if the Warriors were to score first.

Usually when you say "I told you so" you're happy to be right, but not here. Actually when I wrote that in my preview I thought they'd go ahead 3-0 and to be fair they would have, had they taken the "easy three" option handed to them by a penalty under the posts in the first minute, but they definitely deserve credit for not only going for the corner, but also making it work with some determined phases at the line until Zander Fagerson managed to duck under Andrew Porter's challenge to get it down.


GRAY YELLOW


Let the records show that we didn't get our first score until the 15th minute; after our first attack or two had gone nowhere plus a Warriors penalty at their opening scrum which might have had us worried, it was an absolute brainfart of a "chicken wing" challenge by Richie Gray on Jamison Giibson-Park which handed us a ticket back into the match.


Should it have been red? I was in no doubt at the time, maybe slightly less so now but that's probably only because of the result. Elbow contact to the head seems straightforward enough for me.

Obviously referee Andrea Pirardi found himself on the "don't ruin the game" side of the fence (after after an original ruling of "...he was committed to the ruck, just a clean out in my view") and took the low degree of force into account, plus the fact that JGP might have exaggerated his reaction a tad.

I still wonder what the "neutral" opinion would have been had the same challenge come from an elbow coming out of a blue jersey.


14:55 SHEEHAN 1 (ROSS BYRNE CON) 7-7


From that penalty, you could say the floodgates opened. 5m lineout, Sheehan finds Baird, maul finds little or no resistance on the left side as Sheehan gets it back, they motor straight to the line and fall down, boom. Conversion wipes out that early lead just like that.


18:34 LARMOUR 1 (ROSS BYRNE CON) 14-7


Ross Thompson putting the restart out on the full certainly didn't help the Warriors cause, nor did the Leinster scrum righting the wrongs and winning a penalty advantage at midfield, although we didn't need it.


After the ball went to ground for a second, Rory O'Loughlin recovered and sent a lovely miss pass to Larmour, who stepped around Sam Johnson (hardly a slouch) like he wasn't there and powered towards the line, where he had JGP running a perfect 9's tracking line for the offload.


He probably didn't think he'd make it so he went to give it back to Larmour, only for it to be very deliberately knocked on by the wonderfully-named Rufus McLean - a clear contender for another card and possibly even a PT only that JGP recovered and put his winger through for the score anyway..


After that opening Glasgow try, Stephen Ferris said something like "there was I thinking this would be over after 20 minutes". Even though we were only 7 ahead as it turned out, it still already looked like his thinking was right.


23:52 McCARTHY TRY (ROSS BYRNE CON) 21-7


Another lineout close to the line, this time in front of the Anglesea Stand, again Baird with the take, maul D was a bit better so JGP sent it out to Doris, next Porter, and next a big space opened for Joe McCarthy to take and bring himself to the line...however, using my trusty binoculars I didn't think it would be given as it looked like he dropped it?


Sure enough it was lot but after a gagillion looks at the replay I actually think Pirardi did call this unusual scenario right - it was lost because it was knocked on by a defender before going off McCarthy's head, thus no knock on by him, allowing him to score. The RDS faithful certainly were not complaining.


38:20 SHEEHAN 2 (ROSS BYRNE CON HIT UPRIGHT) 26-7


Looking at the final score it's hard to believe there were different periods of 14 and 15 minutes respectively where Leinster didn't score a try, but for this second "purple patch" the Warriors did come very close to dotting down only for Larmour doing brilliantly to hold the ball up over the line.

It wasn't long before a clumsy crossing call at halfway put us back down to their end, where again it was Larmour involved forcing his way to an inch of the line - a deliberate knockon kept us out but from the penalty we took another lineout, back on the Grandstand side, where this time it went Sheehan > Ryan > Sheehan > try, to all but end the half if not the contest.   

(for some reason at HT I thought we were playing the Sharks???)

42.33 DORIS (ROSS BYRNE CON) 33-7


Glasgow actually did get something from the wind at their backs in the second half, namely a really good exit clearance from Ross Thompson after the restart, but as it turned out that's all the benefit they were to get.


Despite the lineout being in our own half, we went on to get my personal favourite from the 12 tries, a team effort that went 12 phases including multiple contributions from Larmour and a strong run into the 22 by Doris until the number 8 himself applied the finish.


SMITH YELLOW


Have a feeling this was when the Warriors were starting to think about holiday destinations, though some might say it was sooner! After the restart the white sea parted for Dan Sheehan who got all the way into their half and a repeat of the Doris try looked likely until Ollie Smith stuck out an arm and this deliberate knock on had to result in a card.

On examining the replay the ref did Warriors prop Bhatti a real solid in assuming he'd be able to stop Ryan Baird getting to the line, thus not awarding a penalty try.


47:43 ALA'ALATOA (ROSS BYRNE CON) 40-7


Yet another lineout followed by a maul which was stopped reasonably well though JGP got it to the line, then some phases before a nice offload from Ringrose to Frawley in the tackle kept it alive until it was Michael Ala'alatoa, on for Furlong for whom we will all be sweating again throughout the week, got it over.


53:22 JAMISON GIBSON-PARK (ROSS BYRNE CON) 47-7


More open space on the wing, on this occasion it was Frawley firing the long pass that allowed Larmour to use it, again JGP was in a position to receive the inside ball and he had the legs to take it all the way.


55:58 RINGROSE (ROSS BYRNE CON HIT UPRIGHT AGAIN) 52-7


If the 12 tries and 76 points aren't enough to remember from this match (or indeed make some want to forget), another feature was the amount of tries which came straight from restarts, with this being the pick of them.


Frawley was finding Larmour for fun at this stage, and here the winger threw a couple of his trademark "would go round you in a postbox" steps before again unselfishly using his support with Ringrose the beneficiary this time, bringing up the "fifty-burger".


59:24 GLASGOW TRY (THOMPSON CON) 52-14


A lost Leinster lineout at halfway l led to a bit of good fortune allowing Sione Tuipulotu to break out of his own 22 and with a penalty advantage down the other end shortly after, George Horne managed to get it over the line. Some might call it consolation, others might call it poking the Leinster lion one more time.


63:54 LARMOUR 2 (ROSS BYRNE CON WIDE) 57-14


We were already well into the Leinster bench at this point, with another 5m lineout being secured now from a Sean Cronin dart and a Ross Molony catch. The pack had a few goes at getting over in that corner until a penalty advantage saw it sent out wide to the other wing where if anyone deserved another try it was Player Of The Match By A Country Mile Jordan Larmour.


68:30 FRAWLEY (HARRY BYRNE CON) 64-14


Glasgow scrum in their own half, the secure their ball, pass to first receiver fine, second pass not so fine, straight to Ciaran Frawley, canter to the line.


70:07 McGRATH (HARRY BYRNE CON) 71-14


Yet another one straight from the restart; we ran it out of our own 22 thanks to the extra soft shoulders from our opposition until Harry Byrne did a less than subtle show and go that still worked and put him through in their half and now it was Luke McGrath with the tracking line which led to get getting the inside pass to bring it the rest of the way as Hugh Cahill says "it's turning into an absolute farce here at the RDS". Turning into?????


FRAWLEY TRYSAVER


Regular Harpin readers will know we started a TikTok account a couple of months ago, because, well, it seemed like the right thing to do? I've tried to use it to feature passages from Leinster matches that may not make the highlight reels. I've done one for every match until last weekend, when, well, let's just say I wasn't quite in the mood.


Happy to get back on the horse for this match however, and Ciarán Frawley's brilliant chase was just the ticket.

@harpinonrugby

Harpin TikTok 8 - "The Spirit of 76" look out for our match writeup on Monday at www.harpinonrugby.net

♬ original sound - Harpin On Rugby

NUGGET BY NAME...


Even if it was called back for a previous pass being forward, how could I not include this offload...


JIMMY O'BRIEN (HARRY BYRNE CON WIDE) 76-14


Not all the Leinster tries were completely down to poor or indifferent defence, but most of them were and this 12th and final one absolutely was. Lineout in their half, through the hands of the backs until it got to Jimmy O'Brien and, well, nobody really seemed interested in laying a glove on him.


HARPIN' POINTS


Only one real harpin' point for me...if the Leinster 23 from Marseille are all fit to see out this URC campaign, how can we find a way to get Larmour involved? He's not just "putting his hand up", it's more like he's slapping the coaches in the face to make them notice. And let's be clear, it has been more than just the stepping, his all round game here and against Munster has been impressive too. I've leave it to Leo & co, as they say, it's one of those "good dilemmas".


]UPDATE - On Monday we learned that Glasgow Warriors coach Danny Wilson lost his job after this result, hardly surprising although equally hardly something worth celebrating. Hopefully he will find a post soon and equally hopefully the club will be back in the playoffs before long.]


WHAT'S NEXT


No more talk of Marseille hangovers...it's final four time in the United Rugby Championship and we have a six-day turnover for the arrival of the Bulls who are sure to be a much different proposition to that we played to start the season. They will provide stern competition and we'll have to be ready for a battle from the kickoff.


Check out our podcast during the week where I'll be assembling a "Leinster Fan Panel" to go over all the possibilities, and what with it being our 150th episode I'll be testing my guests' knowledge of our URC campaign by way of a quiz.


Then for the rest of the week we'll give the visit of the Bulls the full Harpin' treatment so be sure to keep coming back and many thanks as always for sticking with my writeup to the end. JLP


click here for a selection on online comments posted at the full time whistle


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Taken by JLP from RDS press box on Nov 16, 2019