Leinster bag another bonus point win
CHAMPIONS CUP REPORT: Jonathan Sexton and Rhys Ruddock led by example as Leinster outgunned Glasgow Warriors 34-18 to make it back-to-back bonus point wins.
Two Cian Healy tries, the second from a long maul on the stroke of half-time, had Leinster leading 17-10 at half-time, with Stuart Hogg touching down for the Warriors.
Talismanic captain Sexton claimed the province's third try and kicked a 67th-minute penalty to complete his own 17-point haul, the latter strike coming after a Tommy Seymour try and Finn Russell penalty.
However, Leinster sewed up the result with a well-crafted bonus point score, five minutes from the end. Noel Reid was the scorer, his injection of pace and angled run slicing open a tired Glasgow defence to seal a 16-point victory on the road.
The returning Sexton's second-minute penalty rewarded Leinster for their early efforts playing into the elements, with Ali Price guilty of kicking out on the full and the excellent Ruddock and Jack Conan standing out for their combative play.
The slippery conditions made handling extremely difficult, but Glasgow's fit-again fullback Hogg showed his class with a defence-splitting run from deep, which set up Russell's levelling penalty after 13 minutes.
Hogg increased his influence with a superb finish for the Scots' opening try, a Russell grubber being redirected away from the right touchline by Tommy Seymour before the onrushing Hogg managed to dot down. Russell converted for a sudden 10-3 lead.
Leinster's reaction was just what the doctor ordered, Conan and Fergus McFadden carrying strongly before Hogg blundered with an overcooked kick which gave the province an inviting five-metre scrum.
McFadden was unable to gather Sexton's cross-field kick, but from the resulting penalty and Scott Fardy-won line-out, Leinster rumbled up close before Healy proved unstoppable from close range. The prop's try was converted from out on the left by Sexton, with the aid of the right hand post.
It was Glasgow's turn to press after a sliced Luke McGrath kick, the hosts losing Tim Swinson temporarily and captain Ryan Wilson permanently after some bruising phases. Leinster scrumhalf McGrath was also in the wars after defending a dangerous Russell kick.
Dave Rennie's Warriors continued to probe for openings, Barry Daly making a crucial intervention out wide as Hogg looked to send Italian wing Leonardo Sarto up the touchline for a potential try.
Hogg had the distance but not the direction from a 39th-minute penalty attempt, and with Ruddock, who was at his disruptive best, forcing a knock-on, the Leinster pack sensed blood just before the break.
They marched the Scots backwards with a powerful penalty-winning scrum, and with Sexton opting for touch, the ensuing line-out drive saw the forwards march through for Healy to crash over for his second try of the game.
Sexton swept over a textbook low conversion from the right and he then crossed for a beautifully-worked 44th-minute try, combining with Fardy whose deft delivery out the back door sent his flyhalf over close to the posts.
McGrath and Sean Cronin were beginning to fizz in attack, but too many missed tackles allowed Glasgow to hit back quickly with Peter Horne and Hogg combining to send Seymour over for his try in the right corner.
Russell was unable to convert, leaving a nine-point gap at 24-15.
Glasgow lifted the tempo with a Sam Johnson break from his own 22, and although Sexton's recovery tackle forced a knock-on, Leavy gave away a penalty in the 62nd minute which Russell fired over to close the deficit to 18-24.
Conan and Ryan won important turnover ball from the restart, the Leinster forwards knuckling down again with Ryan carrying with great intent in the hosts' 22. Horne then tackled Sexton off the ball, allowing the latter to restore the nine-point lead from the tee.
Ground-gaining runs from Robbie Henshaw and Ruddock, allied to a Ross Byrne grubber into the left corner, saw Leinster keep Glasgow pinned back in and around their 22.
A nasty collision between Callum Gibbins and Horne saw the game held up and both players replaced, before Joey Carbery's pass on the switch had Reid cutting in off his left to dart in between a couple of forwards and evade Henry Pyrgos' clutches to score under the posts. Byrne's straightforward conversion was the final scoring act.
For Glasgow Warriors:
Tries: Hogg, Seymour
Pens: Russell 2
Tries: Healy 2, Sexton, Reid
Cons: Sexton 3, Byrne
Pens: Sexton 2
Glasgow Warriors: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Samuel Johnson, 12 Peter Horne, 11 Leonardo Sarto, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Adam Ashe, 7 Callum Gibbins, 6 Ryan Wilson, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 George Turner, 1 Jamie Bhatti.
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Alex Allan, 18 D'Arcy Rae, 19 Scott Cummings, 20 Robert Harley, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Nick Grigg, 23 Lee Jones.
Leinster: 15 Joey Carbery, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Barry Daly, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Scott Fardy, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Michael Bent, 19 James Ryan, 20 Dan Leavy, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Dave Kearney.
Referee: Jerome Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Ludovic Cayre (France), Jonathan Dufort (France)
TMO: Philip Bonhoure (France)