Leinster 40-21 Glasgow: Reigning Pro14 champions move closer to booking place in final

Harry Byrne
Harry Byrne scored Leinster's opening try but was forced off before half-time with a head injury
Pro14: Leinster v Glasgow Warriors
Leinster (28) 40
Tries: H Byrne, penalty try, Penny 2, L McGrath, Kelleher Cons: H Byrne 2, Hawkshaw 2
Glasgow Warriors (7) 21
Try: Gordon, McLean, Jones Con: Hastings, Thompson 2

Leinster took a big step towards the Pro14 final as they opened up a six-point lead at the top of Conference A with a 40-21 win over 14-man Glasgow.

The province secured the bonus point before half-time through Harry Byrne, a penalty try and two Scott Penny scores.

Tom Gordon replied for Glasgow, who had Adam Hastings sent off on 37 minutes.

Rufus McClean and Huw Jones brought the 14 men back into the contest but late tries from Luke McGrath and Cian Kelleher sealed Leinster's win.

The bonus-point win means Leinster will remain top of the table going into the final two rounds of fixtures, regardless of what happens in next week's meeting with nearest rivals Ulster.

A five-point win for the reigning champions in Belfast would secure their place in the final.

As for Glasgow, their hopes of qualifying for the European Champions Cup have grown even smaller, as they remain 15 points behind third-placed Ospreys with only four matches left.

Leinster start fast in action-packed first half

Leinster began at a rampant pace, and went ahead inside three minutes when Byrne spotted a gap to go over from close range.

With less than 10 minutes played they were halfway to a bonus point while Glasgow were reeling at the prospect of a 14-point deficit and a temporary numerical disadvantage, as debutant Cole Forbes was sent to the sin-bin for taking out Kelleher in the air with the Leinster wing poised to score his side's second having collected Byrne's cross-field kick.

The penalty try was awarded and Glasgow looked to be in for a rough evening. However, they responded well with the try of the contest as Gordon somehow picked up Huw Jones' offload to drag his team back into the fixture.

It appeared it would be no more than a brief reprieve as within four minutes the destructive Penny drove through a tackle to reassert Leinster's dominance.

A tricky situation got considerably worse for Glasgow when fly-half Hastings was shown red in the 37th minute for dangerous play, with the Scotland international's high foot connecting with Kelleher's face.

Leinster wasted no time in making good of their man advantage, with another brutal Penny carry bringing them their bonus-point score before the half-time whistle.

Spirited Glasgow refuse to go away

With 14 men and a 21-point deficit, Glasgow's prospects looked bleak heading into the second period, but the Scottish visitors showed admirable resolve and no shortage of skill to work themselves back into the contest.

A sensational carry and offload from Grant Stewart saw McLean sent clear to claw back a try just two minutes after the interval.

It was game on shortly after when the outstanding Jones capitalised on a period of pressure by holding off two Leinster tacklers to score.

Rufus McLean
Rufus McLean's try saw Glasgow drag themselves back into the fixture

The hosts, who lost Byrne to a failed head injury assessment in the opening half, were far from their relentless best and could not keep ball in hand long enough to put the game to bed.

It was only when TJ Ioane was sin-binned in the 70th minute, reducing his side to 13, that Leinster finally looked comfortable in the lead.

McGrath collected a smart Dave Kearney offload to run in the insurance score that settled any remaining Leinster nerves, while Kelleher crossed with two minutes to remaining to give the scoreline a more lop-sided look.

Leinster: O'Brien; Kelleher, J Osborne, O'Loughlin, Kearney; H Byrne, McGrath (capt); Dooley, Cronin, Bent; Toner, Fardy; Murphy, Van der Flier, Penny.

Replacements: Sheehan, G McGrath, Clarkson, Dunne, Soroka, R Osborne, Hawkshaw, O'Reilly.

Glasgow: Smith; McLean, Jones, Johnson, Forbes; Hastings, Dobie; Kebble, Stewart, Pieretto; Gray, Nakarawa; Harley, Gordon, Wilson (capt).

Replacements: Matthews, Seiuli, Rae, Brown, Ioane, Kennedy, Thompson, Ferguson

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