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Superb Glasgow outclass Leicester in Champions Cup opener

Henry Pyrgos takes on the Leicester defence

Henry Pyrgos scored Glasgow’s third try in an excellent all-round display

Glasgow opened their European Champions Cup campaign with a thumping bonus-point win over Leicester at Scotstoun.

Matt Toomua’s Tigers debut saw him sin-binned for a dangerous tip tackle on Finn Russell but the visitors led 10-3 after Brendon O’Connor’s try.

Warriors responded superbly with three tries in eight minutes from Leonardo Sarto, Fraser Brown and Henry Pyrgos to lead 22-13 at half-time.

Intercept tries from Mark Bennett and Sarto compounded Leicester’s misery.

This was the most points the two-time winners had conceded in a European Cup game, and they must rouse themselves for a home game against Racing 92 next Sunday, while Glasgow travel to face Munster on Saturday.

Toomua sees yellow

Leicester had a 3-0 lead through an Owen Williams penalty when this game became feisty and controversial.

Making his debut for the Tigers, Toomua put a spear tackle on Russell. It was only the 13th minute but already this one had exploded.

Mercifully, Russell managed to break his head-first fall with his elbow. Instead of going for a red card, referee Mathieu Raynal went for yellow, a decision that incensed the home crowd.

Their mood grew darker soon after. Stuart Hogg’s booming penalty put Glasgow level but Ryan Wilson was binned in quick order and Leicester piled on the pain when O’Connor was mauled over the line. Williams converted and the visitors led 10-3.

Glasgow come alive

In the first quarter, Glasgow conceded a stratospheric seven penalties and had just 35% possession. All of that changed thunderously in the second quarter when Gregor Townsend’s team upped their ferocity in a seismic way.

They got on the ball and when it wasn’t their clever footwork that was getting them through Leicester tackles, it was their undiluted power. This was one of their greatest performances.

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The impressive Leonardo Sarto went over for Glasgow’s first try and scored a second late on

Patience and power saw Sarto score Glasgow’s first, then more of the same saw Brown go over. The hooker was terrific in taking the tackle, rolling through it and bouncing back up off the floor to finish.

Sarto and Tim Swinson took Glasgow downfield again and when they got to the line, Pyrgos executed coolly. Russell missed that conversion but landed the other two to make it 22-10 – 19 points in eight devastating minutes for the Warriors.

Tigers humbled

A Williams penalty narrowed the gap but their respite was brief. Glasgow came back at them in the second half and wouldn’t let them alone. Their ambition was a delight, their ability to find space lighting up the Glasgow night.

Russell made it 25-13 with the boot and when Glasgow started shunting the Tigers scrum backwards the visitors lost another man to the bin, replacement Logovi’i Mulipola walking off only minutes after running on.

Glasgow were utterly dominant in every phase. Another Russell penalty took the gap to 15 points and the only question now was whether they could get the fourth try for the bonus point.

It duly arrived when Mathew Tait coughed up the ball in the tackle and Bennett galloped away from his own 22 to score under the posts.

A fifth score, and a second intercept, put Scotstoun into an advanced statue of delirium. Sarto gobbled up possession and ran in from distance for his second try.

With another conversion from Russell, Glasgow brought it to 42-13 – proper reward for their verve and ferocity.

Glasgow Warriors: Stuart Hogg, Leonardo Sarto, Mark Bennett, Sam Johnson, Rory Hughes, Finn Russell, Henry Pyrgos,Gordon Reid, Fraser Brown, Zander Fagerson, Tim Swinson, Jonny Gray, Rob Harley, Ryan Wilson, Josh Strauss.

Replacements: Pat MacArthur (for Brown, 69), Alex Allan (for Reid, 66), Sila Puafisi (for Z Fagerson, 63), Matt Fagerson (for Gray, 77), Lewis Wynne (for Wilson, 70), Ali Price (for Pyrgos, 70) , Nick Grigg (for Johnson, 33), Sean Lamont (for Hughes, 71).

Yellow card: Wilson (19)

Leicester Tigers: Telusa Veainu, Adam Thompstone, Mathew Tait, Matt Toomua, Tom Brady, Owen Williams, Ben Youngs, Ellis Genge, Tom Youngs, Dan Cole, Dom Barrow, Graham Kitchener, Mike Fitzgerald, Brendon O’Connor, Lachlan McCaffrey.

Replacements: Harry Thacker (for T Youngs, 47) Logovi’i Mulipola (for Genge, 56), Greg Bateman (for Cole, 54), Ed Slater (for Barrow, 65) , Will Evans (for O’Connor, 71), Sam Harrison (for B Youngs, 71), Freddie Burns (for Williams 69), Peter Betham (for Brady, 48).

Yellow cards: Toomua (13), Mulipola (59)

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/37645772