GLASGOW’S stuttering start to the season got worse when they went down to their fourth defeat in seven matches, not even picking up a losing bonus point as they collapsed to their first home defeat to Leinster in seven years.

That was despite playing against an out-and-out second string with Leinster making 14 changes from the side that had beaten Lyon in the Heineken Champions Cup. This contrasted with the nine the Scots made, though in their case their alterations included restoring Scotland internationals Jonny Gray and Ali Price to the starting team.

“You have to look at the quality of the opposition,” said head coach Dave Rennie. “We made a lot of line breaks, we got behind them a lot but they scrambled so well.

“In that second half we didn’t kick it behind the full-back that would take us down there. You have to be able to kick it more than 30 metres. I don’t know whether the ball or the air meant it was hard to kick distance but if you kick beyond them then you force them to kick back and you get a chance to counter. I thought we countered really well in the first half but battled to get any territory and it put us under pressure.

“There was a lot of good stuff but they are a very good side and they had a couple of opportunities late in the first half and took them well.”

It was always a game that was going to be tough to call with so many changes to both sides, but on the upside for the visitors, that meant reverting to a team closer to the one that did duty during the World Cup, which won all their games in contrast to Glasgow’s – not that they settled quickly.

The Scots produced a vibrant attacking opening spell but it produced only a single try, partly cancelled out by a penalty for Ross Byrne, the Leinster fly-half.

The home try came with a touch of controversy in the build-up with Niko Matawalu putting Sam Johnson into space to chip through to set up a chase for Huw Jones. He was clearly taken out off the ball by Hugo Keenan. Technical problems meant the television official could not show the incident on the big screen and they got away with a penalty and a yellow card for Keenan.

Not that the let-off lasted long as Glasgow drove the ball and shifted it quickly wide where Ruaridh Jackson was able to run through the space Keenan should have been defending.

It really should have been even better, as Johnson was again the catalyst as he cut through but Matawalu put down the scoring pass with the line open and then Peter Horne failed with a simple penalty.

Leinster made them pay when the ball moved down the other end and Byrne made no mistake with his first kick, but Glasgow seemed to regain control when they drove a line-out, charged into midfield and then Ali Price found Jackson lurking on the wing to take the scoring pass.

The game swung 180 degrees on the half-hour when Leinster started to win penalties, getting a line-out on the Glasgow line and shifting the ball wide off the resulting maul with Jimmy O’Brien drifting wide to create space and putting Cain Kelleher in for a try that, with Bryne’s conversion levelled the scores.

The double whammy was completed three minutes later when they repeated the move with Conor O’Brien – not a relation – this time creating the gap for Kelleher to cross and send the Irish into the break with a seven-point lead.

It was enough to give Leinster that vital momentum when the teams returned to the pitch and though the Glasgow defence was able to stop more tries initially, they could not stop Byrne adding his second penalty to increase their deficit.

Warriors did have a chance to claim a losing bonus point with a late flourish, but Jackson had the ball knocked from his grasp going for the score and Jonny Gray got over the line but could not ground the ball.

Scorers, Glasgow – Tries: Jackson 2.

Leinster – Tries: C Kelleher 2. Cons: R Byrne 2. Pens: R Byrne 3.

Glasgow: Jackson, Seymour, H Jones, Johnson, Matawalu, P Horne, Price, Kebble, Turner, Rae, Swinson, Gray, Harley, Fusaro, Wilson.

Replacements: Steyn for H. Jones (67), McDowall for Johnson (59), Frisby for Price (72), Seiuli for Kebble (12), Stewart for Turner (71),

Nicol for Rae (71), McDonald for Swinson (59), Ashe for Wilson (67).

Leinster: Keenan, A. Byrne, J. O’Brien, C. O’Brien, C. Kelleher, R. Byrne, Gibson-Park, Dooley, Tracy, Bent, Molony, Toner, Murphy, Conners, Doris. Replacements: McFadden for A. Byrne (70), O’Sullivan for Gibson-Park (77), E Byrne for Dooley (42), B Byrne for Tracy (68), Aungier for Bent (68), Dowling for Murphy (12). Not Used: Penny, Frawley. Sin-bin: Keenan (3).

Referee: Craig Evans (Wales).