RaboDirect Pro12 Final 2014: Score and Report for Leinster vs. Glasgow

Gianni VerschuerenFeatured ColumnistMay 31, 2014

Leinster's Brian O'Driscoll reacts during his Heineken European Cup semifinal rugby union match against Clermont in Bordeaux, southwestern France, Sunday, April 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Bob Edme)
Bob Edme/Associated Press

Leinster retained their RaboDirect Pro12 crown by defeating Glasgow Warriors in dominant fashion, winning 34-12 in Dublin on Saturday.

BBC Scotland's Andy Burke couldn't believe his luck, to be a part of such a great day for the sport:

What a glorious setting for a major rugby final. The RDS in Dublin is a throwback to rugby grounds of a bygone era, full of character and charm. The pitch is immaculate, the sun is shining, Glasgow going for a first major trophy, a legend of the game in Brian O'Driscoll taking to the field for the last time - all the makings of a wonderful occasion.

Brian O'Driscoll started his final match for Leinster, hoping to finish his career with a fourth Pro12 trophy.

Finn Russell opened the scoring after just three minutes, taking advantage of a penalty for an offside call to give Warriors a 3-0 lead.

O'Driscoll was forced to leave the pitch with a hamstring injury after just nine minutes, bringing a premature end to what should have been a historic match for the Irish centre.

The crowd still gave the veteran a standing ovation:

Russell doubled Glasgow's lead after 15 minutes with a second penalty, and faced with a six-point deficit, the defending champions started to mount their siege. Just five minutes later, Zane Kirchner scored a well-worked try in the corner, and following the conversion by Jimmy Gopperth, Leinster led 7-6.

Burke was impressed with the champions' patience in working the try:

"Frantic defence from Glasgow but Leinster took their time, showed great patience to work the overlap and Kirchner left with an easy finish. Great try."

Leinster seemed to ease the pressure a bit following their first score, and five frantic minutes before half-time would see Glasgow score two more penalties through Russell but concede another Kirchner try to make the score 14-12 Leinster after one half, as shared by Scottish Rugby:

BBC Scotland's Tom English felt like everything was going exactly how Leinster would have hoped:

Glasgow are posing a lot of questions of the Leinster defence. But, unfortunately for them, they are coming up with all the answers. Leinster have been pretty clinical. But, if they keep taking their chances, a gap is going to open up and Glasgow are going to have to come up with a try. The strength of this Leinster defence is a problem for them as I just don't see where a try is coming from.

Leinster came of the dressing room on fire, looking to put their opponents away early. Cian Healy looked to have scored a try within five minutes of the restart, but the TMO decided in favour of Glasgow.

Video replay suggested it as the wrong decision, and The Score Rugby didn't like the decision at all:

Gopperth then hit the post with a long penalty as Leinster asserted control, and fans were just waiting for the defending champions to score the deciding try.

Even musician Niall Breslin could see Leinster were just in a different class:

Peter Wright told the BBC the same thing:

"Leinster just look the better team. They are slicker and more dangerous. The Leinster defence is so quick and they are in the face of Glasgow so quickly. But, when there's only five points between the sides, you still have a chance."

Gopperth converted two penalties midway through the second half to make the score 20-12, and Warriors now needed to score their first try to have any chance of winning their first Pro12 title.

Leinster took full control, however, and two late tries from Kirchner and Gordon D'Arcy effectively ended the contest.

Glasgow's AL Kellock conceded Leinster were simply the better team, as he told the BBC:

They just controlled it better. They did not make many mistakes and were clinical.

We opened it up near the end as we chased the game.

We have got to learn lessons, but it's just really difficult to take at the moment. We made more mistakes in that game than we have in the last four or five games and that's hard to take.

We emptied ourselves, but it just wasn't good enough.

Warriors put together a valiant effort and kept things close before half-time, but Leinster's experience and superior defensive talents really shone, as Glasgow didn't score a single try.

O'Driscoll may not have finished his final match, but fans will rejoice knowing the veteran of many wars was allowed to lift the Pro12 trophy a final time.

The search for the next great Irish player will not be an easy one, as O'Driscoll still played a big role in the team's Six Nations-bid last season, but it would seem his team Leinster are ready to continue their Pro12 dominance without their centre of many years.