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The National (Scotland)
The National (Scotland)
Daragh Small

Fraser Brown pays tribute to Doddie Weir as Glasgow lose to Leinster

SCOTLAND hooker Frazer Brown paid tribute to the late Doddie Weir on a sad day for Scottish rugby.

The former Scotland great, Weir, passed away yesterday following a five-year long battle with Motor Neurone Disease.

Brown featured against New Zealand in Murrayfield recently, when the Scottish squad got to meet Weir again, and he was emotional reminiscing about one of the true greats of the game.

“It’s hugely sad news. I played in that game two weeks ago and it was a very emotional day for anyone there. I know it was very emotional for myself on the pitch. I am quite emotional now,” said Brown.

“Doddie is an amazing man and he was an amazing man. The strength he has shown over the last five years.

“He’s unbelievable, probably the strongest man I have met in my life.

“It’s hugely sad news and my thoughts and everyone’s thoughts here are for Doddie’s family, his children and obviously his wife because it will be a very difficult time for them as well as the rest of the country.”

Brown was speaking at yesterday’s post-match press conference in Dublin where he was part of another losing Glasgow Warriors team.

It wasn’t quite the manner of their 76-14 thrashing that they experienced the last time they visited RDS in the URC, but it was another difficult afternoon.

After that quarter-final defeat head coach Danny Wilson lost his job and the bitter taste left in the mouth didn’t seem to show as Glasgow failed to make their chances pay and trailed by 21-0 at half-time against the league leaders.

Leinster were minus a large cohort of their international contingent but still look fluent at times with their youngsters providing a sprinkle of class.

Rob Russell was the chief tormentor on this occasion and he notched a hat-trick of tries, two of which had already been registered before half-time.

Glasgow came into this game on the back of a dreadful run of form on the road. They won all three of their home games but lost all three away from Scotstoun in the URC this season.

Franco Smith was desperate to get a fast start on this occasion and he was able to welcome back Murphy Walker and Jack Dempsey after first exploits with Scotland during the November internationals.

But all of their enthusiasm was likely zapped in the opening quarter where Leinster dominated for large parts and punished Glasgow when they overplayed their hand in midfield.

Leinster scored twice in the opening quarter, first Jamie Osborne provided the long pass and Dave Kearney was in acres space to score with a simple finish in the eighth minute.

Ross Byrne’s conversion gave Leinster a 7-0 lead and then he converted Russell’s sensational first try after George Horne and Gregor Brown failed to get Charlie Ngatai into touch. Ngatai’s sumptuous offload gifted Russell the try.

Glasgow finally got their chance when openside flanker Sione Vailanu came up with the ball from a Leinster ruck, Josh McKay provided the fancy footwork and they got within inches of the tryline only for Luke McGrath to make the turnover.

McGrath turned provider for Russell in the 22nd minute when he broke from a maul, jinked, and passed to his flying winger who handed off Rufus McLean before speeding away down the right wing to score his second try.

Byrne maintained his 100 per cent record and they were 21-0 ahead.

One positive from Glasgow’s first-half display was their dominant scrum which won them three penalties. The latter of which led to a drive downfield but Cancelliere knocked on when the ball came his way.

Smith’s side won another scrum penalty before the break and then the returning Ronan Kelleher was penalised at a ruck. But with Glasgow building nicely young lock Alex Samuel knocked on and that was it for the first half.

Glasgow trailed 21-0 at half-time and almost made the dream start to the second half but Gregor Brown had his 46th-minute effort chalked off for obstruction in the build-up.

However, they came again and captain Kyle Steyn gave the pass for Cancelliere to score in the right corner. But Horne missed the kick and the deficit remained at 21-5.

And it was Leinster who scored next, replacement loosehead Milne put the game beyond doubt when he finished from close range. Ross Byrne added the conversion again, his fourth.

There was still time for Russell to complete his hat-trick after an incisive break from replacement Chris Cosgrave and then another youngster, replacement hooker John McKee, added a sixth try.

Glasgow finished the game on a low ebb but there were more important things with off the field matters taking precedence in the aftermath on a difficult day for Scottish rugby.


Leinster J Osborne; R Russell, L Turner, C Ngatai (H Byrne 40), D Kearney; R Byrne (C Cosgrave 71), L McGrath (C Foley 60); E Byrne (M Milne 51), R Kelleher (J McKee 66), T Clarkson (V Abdaladze 51); R Molony, J McCarthy (J Jenkins 51); R Ruddock (R Baird 51), S Penny, M Deegan.

Glasgow Warriors J McKay; S Cancelliere, K Steyn, S McDowall, R McLean (R Thompson 56); T Jordan, G Horne (J Dobie 66) (E Ferrie 74); O Kebble (J Bhatti 56), F Brown (J Matthews 56), M Walker (S Berghan 56); S Manjezi, A Samuel (JP du Preez 56); G Brown (L Bean 66), S Vailanu, J Dempsey.

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