GLASGOW’s hopes of a top-three finish in PRO14 Conference A were dealt a potentially fatal blow by this defeat in Dublin last night, and Adam Hastings’ chances of a swift return to playing in the Six Nations were damaged too as he was sent off in the first half for dangerous play.

The stand-off had been due to be on the bench for Scotland against France yesterday before that game was postponed, and must now wait to find out the length of his ban for the red card, shown by referee Frank Murphy after he stuck out his right leg while in the air to catch a ball and made contact with Cian Kelleher’s face.

The sending-off of the No 10, who has yet to play in this year’s Six Nations having just returned from shoulder surgery, further handicapped a Glasgow side who had already had debutant Cole Forbes sin-binned and gone 14-0 behind in the first ten minutes. They fought back well in the third quarter and at 28-21 briefly threatened to pull off an upset, but after a late yellow card for substitute TJ Ioane they conceded two more scores to the conference leaders.

Asked about the red card, Danny Wilson insisted that Hastings had not meant to make contact with Kelleher, but accepted that the Warriors could be without the stand-off for a couple of forthcoming games. “There’s no intent there,” the head coach said of Hastings, who is leaving Scotstoun for Gloucester in the summer. “ As he’s said, he’s kind of lost his balance and he’s kicked his foot out to correct his balance so he doesn’t land awkwardly. And his foot has stayed out there.

“By the letter of the law it’s a red card, I suppose, but there’s certainly no intent or anything like that. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see what they say about the red and how they deem that in terms of weeks and sanctions.”

Wilson was rightly enthusiastic about the third-quarter fightback, and about the performance of young players such as lock Gregor Brown, who came on at half-time for his debut in place of the somnambulating Leone Nakarawa. But he was also scathing about his team’s defending in the first half, when Huw Jones was one of the few Warriors who showed anything like the sharpness needed against a team of Leinster’s quality.

“If I’m honest I was really frustrated with our defence in the first half - I thought defensively we were as bad as we’ve been,” Wilson continued. “That said, I was really proud of the return from that, because you could collapse from that - you could concede a load of points straight after half-time and the game’s done. We didn’t do that, and I thought with 14 men we showed a lot of fight and spirit.” 

They did indeed, but it was Leinster who showed a lot of fight and spirit straight from kick-off to take control of proceedings with two full scores in the first ten minutes. They opened the scoring through a close-range Harry Byrne try after a little more than two minutes, then got their second when Forbes took Kelleher out in the air on the right touchline and referee Frank Murphy awarded the penalty try as well as showing the New Zealander a yellow card.

Tom Gordon finished off an excellent break by Jones and Hastings converted to give Glasgow a glimmer of hope, but with Forbes still in the bin, Leinster claimed their third. A penalty to touch again began the move, and after Byrne had come close, Scott Penny finished off. The No 8 claimed his own second and his team’s fourth just after Hastings had been red-carded to make it  28-7 at the break.

Glasgow hit back well in the third quarter, and just two minutes after the restart pulled one score back through Rufus McLean after good work by Grant Stewart. Ross Thompson converted that try, and added another two points after Jones had gone over for the Warriors’ third.

Richie Gray had to go off after sustaining what Wilson said he hoped was just a minor head knock, and only five minutes or so after replacing the lock, Ioane was yellow-carded for diving in on the ground with his shoulder. Leinster made good use of the extra space provided, and late tries by Luke McGrath and Kelleher made the points secure.


Scorers: Leinster: Tries: Byrne, penalty try, Penny 2, L McGrath, Kelleher. Cons: Byrne 2, Hawkshaw 2.

Glasgow: Tries: Gordon, McLean, Jones. Cons: Hastings, Thompson 2.

Leinster: J O’Brien; C Kelleher (M O’Reilly 37-40), J Osborne, R O’Loughlin, D Kearney; H Byrne (D Hawkshaw 34), L McGrath (captain) (R Osborne 75); P Dooley (G McGrath 75), S Cronin (D Sheehan 60), M Bent (T Clarkson 57), D Toner, S Fardy, J Murphy (A Soroka 58), J van der Flier, S Penny (J Dunne 75). 

Glasgow Warriors: O Smith (R Thompson 41); R McLean, H Jones, S Johnson (R Fergusson 75), C Forbes; A Hastings, J Dobie (S Kennedy 64); O Kebble (A Seiuli 60), G Stewart (J Matthews 66), E Pieretto (D Rae 54), R Gray (T Ioane 66), L Nakarawa (G Brown 41), R Harley, T Gordon, R Wilson (captain). 

Yellow cards: Glasgow: Forbes 10, Ioane 70.

Red card: Glasgow: Hastings 37.

Referee: F Murphy (Ireland).