Glasgow Warriors and Leinster Rugby played out a thrilling game on the new artificial pitch at Scotstoun Stadium on Saturday (September 10) in what was one of the highlights of Round 2 in the Guinness PRO12.
The 2015 Guinness PRO12 champions installed the new pitch over the summer and their first run-out on the surface produced eight tries among the 58 points (33-25) in a breathless, fast-paced encounter.
Glasgow Warriors head coach, Gregor Townsend, said: “Well it was a nightmare for the defence coaches! You’re able to produce quicker ball and both teams when they had ball were able to make ground. It will be a test on the defence and that’s the wake-up call we got [about the pitch] is we’re going to have to defend better.
“Leinster were able to produce really quick ball, they got a number of line breaks and really we should have been further behind at half-time but when we got ball we looked dangerous. If you struggle to get a good grass pitch that can handle the weather and also the weight of a scrum which can be up to a thousand kilos, then an artificial pitch gives you the chance to play positive rugby every week.”
Leinster Rugby captain, Luke McGrath, has played on artificial pitches in Dublin and Cardiff, and despite his team’s loss, he was impressed by the surface at Scotstoun Stadium. McGrath said: “Personally, I really liked it. You get fast ball and it’s definitely tougher on the lungs but that favoured both teams out there because Glasgow and Leinster both like to play a bit of rugby and you saw that the surface definitely helped under foot.
“We train on artificial pitches every week and we’ve played a good few games on these surfaces at this stage so we know what it’s like and these types of pitches will only improve the type of rugby that gets played.”
Game statistics, provided by Opta, underlined the positive play that Glasgow Warriors and Leinster Rugby produced:
• 45 Defenders Beaten (Glasgow 23/Leinster 22)
• 18 Offloads (Glasgow 11/Leinster 7)
• 21 Clean Breaks (Glasgow 8/Leinster 13)
You can view highlights of the game here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gji2PX4y-c4