Glasgow stay perfect
PRO14 MATCH REPORT: Niko Matawalu's incredible individual performance paved the way for an eighth successive victory for Glasgow Warriors, after an exhilarating win over Leinster.
The Warriors wing shone with a plethora of assists in the high-scoring contest, but it was one breathtaking individual run that had the Scotstoun crowd rocking in the first half.
George Horne and Nick Grigg shared four tries between them as the sixth try-scoring bonus point of the season was secured by the home side with just 28 minutes on the clock, to keep flying high atop Conference A.
But that was after Leinster had twice taken the lead, with Jamison Gibson-Park, Rory O'Loughlin and Adam Byrne all crossing in a stoic display from the visitors.
In a breathless start it was Leinster who struck first as excellent work in the midfield saw Jordan Larmour produce some nifty footwork, leaving Gibson-Park to find some space to bundle over.
But the lead lasted just two minutes through some equally-exquisite Glasgow interchange, Matawalu the man at the heart of it to set up Horne for his first.
Yet Leinster bounced straight back courtesy of their pack, shifting the ball to the right where O'Loughlin made no mistake.
This was a game you could not take your eyes off with a fourth try coming in the first 17 minutes, with the magical Matawalu dancing and weaving through the Leinster 22, the ball recycled to Grigg to go over from five metres.
At 14-all the match was not slowing down, George Horne getting his second score from what seemed an impossible situation.
With Leinster down to 14 men, plenty of Warriors pressure was profited on, with the scrum half the man to stretch out and ground the ball despite being floored just a metre from the line.
But what followed was nothing short of magic. Scrambling backwards in defence, the ball went behind the Glasgow try line before settling in the hands of Matawalu in space.
Just five metres from his own posts, the wing wasted no time stretching his legs to evade tackles throughout the Leinster midfield and defence, unselfishly passing to Grigg to score his second and secure a bonus-point within 30 minutes.
Peter Horne obliged with his fourth successful kick, extending the lead to 31-14 at the break with a perfect penalty from in front of the posts.
Scotstoun was understandably on its feet come the half-time whistle, though the frenetic pace was unable to be kept up in the early stages of the second half.
That didn't stop Leinster getting back into the game however, Adam Byrne adjudged to have grounded the ball mere milliseconds before being in touch, with namesake Ross reducing the arrears to ten heading into the last 20 minutes.
But while Glasgow were reduced to 14 men, the fourth and potentially decisive try was not to come Leinster's way, missing out on the losing bonus point as a Guinness PRO14 thriller came to an end.
For Glasgow Warriors:
Tries: G Horne 2, Grigg 2
Cons: P Horne 4
Pen: P Horne
Tries:Gibson-Park, O'Loughlin, A Byrne
Cons: R Byrne 3
Yellow cards: Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors, 46), Jordi Murphy (Leinster, 17), Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors, 60)
Glasgow Warriors: 15 Ruaridh Jackson, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Nick Grigg, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Niko Matawalu, 10 Peter Horne, 9 George Horne, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Callum Gibbins (captain), 6 Rob Harley, 5 Scott Cummings, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 D'Arcy Rae, 2 George Turner, 1 Jamie Bhatti.
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Alex Allan, 18 Adam Nicol, 19 Lewis Wynne, 20 Matt Smith, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Alex Dunbar, 23 Leonardo Sarto.
Leinster: 15 Jordan Larmour, 14 Adam Byrne, 13 Rory O'Loughlin, 12 Conor O'Brien, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Max Deegan, 7 Jordi Murphy, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Mick Kearney, 4 Ross Molony (captain), 3 Michael Bent, 2 Seán Cronin, 1 Ed Byrne.
Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Peter Dooley, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Josh Murphy, 20 Dan Leavy, 21 Nick McCarthy, 22 Cathal Marsh, 23 Hugo Keenan.
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Sam Grove-White (Scotland), Lloyd Linton (Scotland)
TMO: Jim Yuille