Friday, September 06, 2002

Glasgow 25 - Leinster 21

The bookies gave Leinster a 5 point start, Cranky game them 10. Bookies have holiday villas in Spain, Cranky doesn't.

Glasgow's first competative home game of the season and it was the usual fireworks pre-game, and ultimately the usual fireworks on the pitch.

As a Glasgow fan Cranky puts his hand up now and says a Leinster side with Hickie, O'Gara and O'Driscoll would have beaten Glasgow by at least 15 points, but the players weren't there and Glasgow got an exceedingly nail-biting win. Cranky took an unacustomed seat in the stands having mistakenly been sent a Stand season ticket after ordering only a ground pass. This offered Cranky a whole new perspective on the game although one of the floodlights did tend to obstruct his view at crucial moments. The game kicked off and within the first 30 seconds Leinster sliced through Glasgow's 10/12 channel and Kieron Lewis finished of the move to score a try which went unconverted. The 10/12 channel was to prove a terrible problem in the first half for Glasgow with Tommy Hayes in particular responsible for some terribly weak tackling. Glasgow then dominated possesion which gave Hayes 3 penalty chances which he proceeded to miss. To give due credit though one of those bounced off the inside of the post, and it was from 50 meters out. There then followed a multi-phase period of play where Glasgow kept the ball through 6 or 7 recyling manouvers before releasing Steel down the right hand touch line. The Leinster drift defence managed to scramble the ball into touch. The resulting 5m lineout didn't amount to anything. Leinster then once again sliced through the 10/12 channel. It looked certain a try was to be scored but the Leinster winger was brought to the ground and Donny McFadgen was all over him and there wasn't a supporting Leinster player in sight. Ultimately though Leinster got another converted penalty. Then Leinster got horribly mixed up in midfield on their 10m line and Hayes screamed up, ripped the ball and sprinted clear of the covering Leinster players to score under the posts. Howarth chipped over the conversion. Four minutes later Glasgow lost the ball at a ruck a Leinster spun it wide for another try, this time converted. Almost the final act of the half was to substitute Badger for Andy Wilson as Simpson had been struggling with a leg knock for the last 15 minutes.

Halftime: Glasgow 7 - Leinster 15

Cranky's view of the first half was manyfold.
1) Stuart Moffat, Glasgow's new full back, is a huge lad; a good 6 inches higher the Glenn Metcalfe and obviously a stone or two heavier. His meaty ooomph on the crash ball is enjoyed.
2) The referee was terrible. Glasgow vs Montferrand bad. By the end of the game the crowd around Cranky was pointing out all his missed/incorrect calls, not just the ones that went against Glasgow. When you're saying "Glasgow should have been penalised for that" you know the ref is bad.
3) The Leinster backs realising how bad the Ref was were getting progressively more and more offside as the game progressed. By the second half the Leinster backs were so offside they were practically behind the Glasgow players.

The second half kicked off and within about 15 seconds Jon Steel received a scoring pass after Glasgow had sliced through the Leinster defence. Conversion missed. Deja-vu. Leinster converted a penalty and then Glasgow took control of possesion for the next 20 minutes. Hmmmmm, more Deja-vu. Hayes struck 2 penalties to bring the scores level before the referee finally makes a correct decision about Leinster diving over at the ruck. Hayes narrowly missed the attempt. Then finally the referee brings out a yellow card for the Leinster full back guddaling around in a ruck, while off his feet. I must say this about the Irish provinces, they aren't afraid to be cynical. Last week Connacht killed Border's move after Border's move, this week it was Leinster doing it to Glasgow. Two minutes later though the ref was back to his bad old ways. Glasgow stretched Leinster's 6 man back line for Hayes to fire an inch perfect pass to Jon Steel who crashed over the line only for the ref to rule crossing against Calvin Howarth who'd come in on the dummy run. Maybe the ref was right but in Cranky's view Howarth didn't make contact with any opposition player and steel was at least fifteen yards away from the player the Howarth would have been deemed to have obstructed, he didn't affect the try at all. Three miutes later Leinster perform a far more clear cut piece of crossing only to have the ref say accidental offside so Glasgow only got a scrum. Leinster got a scrum on the their own 22 only to have it turned. Glasgow whipped the resultant scrum ball across their back line to have Stuart Moffat smash between two Leinster players and drag them over the line with him as he scored, Hayes converted.

Then it all started to get a bit tense, a bit familiar, a bit too Glasgow-ish. Leinster finally got some ball and did damage getting to within 10m of Glasgow's line, in the resultant ruck Hayes was adjuded to have done something that deserved a yellow card and Leinster converetd the easy penlaty. Some awesome aggressive defense by Glasgow reulted in a scrum to them on Leinster 10m line only to have it won against the head. Then a poor Gordon Bulloch line-out let Leinster scream up the left touch line deep in injury time. Desperate Glasgow cover defense stopped the move and then, like mana from heaven a Leinster loose forward swallow dived on top of the ruck. From the side. Directly in front of the ref. Penalty Glasgow. Thump to touch. Blow for no-side. A hearty cheer from Cranky.

So, once again Glasgow did what Glasgow does, scores more points than the opposition, capitalise on every mistake and offer some easy scores to their opponents but still come out victors. Barring disaster now Glasgow have got into the quarters. Another away win and they have a home draw.