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PRO14 Final Betting Preview – Glasgow Warriors vs. Leinster
So, we have our PRO14 finalists.
Glasgow Warriors’ 50-20 trashing of Ulster sent a loud message to reigning champions Leinster last week. The Scottish side was a class above their Irish rivals on a night when Ulster and Ireland captain Rory Best played his last game in club rugby.
Having put seven tries past the visitors, Glasgow will certainly earn the respect of punters.
On Saturday, May 25, at Celtic Park in Glasgow, the Warriors will have their work cut out against the reigning PRO14 champions, Leinster.
Johnny Sexton and company will be arriving at the home of Glasgow Celtic with their heads held high following an impressive second-half performance over Munster in their semi-final.
The Dublin-based powerhouse took a while to warm up, granted. With a couple of changes, the Blues eventually found their feet and put a solid score of 24-9 on the board at the end of the game.
Having lost to Saracens a week prior in the European Rugby Champions Cup Final, Leinster will not be keen on ending the season empty-handed. Glasgow will certainly feel the same way.
Let’s start this Glasgow Warriors vs. Leinster betting preview with a look at what the bookmakers are thinking about this one.
Glasgow Warriors vs. Leinster Odds
The odds above come courtesy of Bovada sports and are accurate at the time of writing.
No surprise to see Leinster come in as favorites for this clash. Even with Glasgow’s remarkable performance against Ulster in their semi-final, Leo Cullen’s men are still the best team in the PRO14.
Leinster rested key players in their victory over Munster last weekend, demonstrating their strength in depth. They are a true force to be reckoned with on their day and demand respect from any team they face.
These Glasgow players are certainly no slouches either and look decent value at +150 to triumph. Given they are playing in their home city, confidence is particularly high.
With superstar fullback Stuart Hogg set to play his last game for Glasgow with a move to Exeter Chiefs on the horizon, a big performance is on the cards.
Leinster’s Sean O’Brien will be joining him in the Aviva Premiership having signed for London Irish, but only one of these stars will have a send-off to remember.
Recapping the PRO14 Semi-Finals
There can be no arguments regarding the teams that deserve to be in the final on Saturday, May 25.
Glasgow Warriors certainly impressed in their seven-try rout over Ulster while Leinster showed Munster that they have more than just one gear.
At the world-famous Celtic Park in Glasgow, the best of Scotland and Ireland will clash in what promises to be an incredible test. Well, going on the semi-final performances, fans can expect fireworks.
Allow me to refresh your memory.
PRO14 Semi-Final 1: Glasgow 50-20 Ulster
Who expected a winning margin of 30 points in this game?
I can say, with hand on my heart, that I did not see it coming. Glasgow Warriors scoring 50 points against a solid Ulster team. Impressive, indeed.
Tommy Seymour’s early try got the best out of the home crowd. The Warriors kept up the pace and crossed the line another two times in the first half before ramping things up in the second half to send their fans home very happy.
This was undoubtedly the most impressive game of the season for the Scotsmen, with Matt Fagerson, Adam Hastings, and Ali Price in excellent form. From front to back, the Warriors were outstanding.
Ulster seemed completely unprepared for the craft of their opponents with Glasgow’s Scott Cummings setting up Kyle Steyn with a sweet pass. Steyn then steamrolled into the Ulster 22 with Hastings eventually picking out Tommy Seymour for the first try.
Hastings’ kicking was spot on, too, and he ensured that he hit his conversions and a few nice penalties to boot.
Rob Harley’s try was converted by Hastings just in time to give the home side an impressive 24-3 lead at half time.
Second Half Control
If there was any chance of Ulster coming back from 21 points down, it would have taken something truly remarkable.
Glasgow quickly put any ideas of that kind to rest by blowing Ulster out of the water for the remaining 40 minutes.
Stuart Hogg found a gap in the Irish province’s defense and found Seymour, who happily crossed in the corner.
Adding to the rout, Hastings’ chip was picked up by Hogg who displayed excellent interplay with Ryan Wilson to set up Steyn for another try for Glasgow.
The score could have been even more if the Warriors hadn’t been caught napping by Ulster, with Marcell Coetzee crossing getting on the scoresheet. It was nothing but a consolation at this point.
Pete and George Horne added tries six and seven to break the heart of Ulster captain Best, who had to settle for tries from replacement Rob Herring and Michael Lowry.
What a statement from the Scots.
PRO14 Semi-Final 2: Leinster 24-9 Munster
Leinster showed signs of tiredness following their 20-10 loss to Saracens in the European Rugby Champions Cup Final a week prior to this fixture.
Now, there was never any question that Munster would be a challenge for their arch-rivals, but many had expected Leinster to look a little more convincing. Both sides, in all fairness, found it hard to find their flow.
Both teams were restricted to penalties in the first half, with Leinster’s Ross Byrne and Munster’s Joey Carbery registering four and three, respectively.
The first half saw various handling errors and a series of broken plays that frustrated both sets of supporters inside Dublin’s RDS.
When Sean Cronin crossed the line for Leinster’s first 5-pointer, the defending champions looked a little livelier. Another fan favorite, James Lowe, added a second try to raise the voices of the home contingent in the stands.
A late injury to Devin Toner was perhaps the only true negative for Leinster on a day when they looked a little inconsistent. Still, the five-time winners will undoubtedly be happy to make it to Glasgow with a healthy squad to choose from.
A Game of Two Halves
Sexton started on the bench, with the number 10 shirt going to the promising Ross Byrne on the day.
In some ways, his duel with opposite number Joey Carbery was almost like a showdown for the rightful claim to be Sexton’s successor in the Ireland team. Byrne is almost certainly set to replace Sexton at Leinster, of course.
Both Byrne and Carbery did their provinces proud from the kicking tee, although Carbery could not take advantage of James Lowe’s sin-binning in open play.
Byrne was the last to score at halftime and the first to register points on the board in the second half. It was a good performance overall for the 24-year-old, who was replaced by Sexton, despite his efforts.
As soon as the Irish superstar took to the pitch, there was an intensity in Leinster’s game. Despite having just over 20 minutes to shine, Sexton’s presence saw his team ramp up the pressure with two important scores to kill the game.
Glasgow will have been encouraged by Leinster’s sluggish first 40 minutes but will certainly be working hard on a plan to stop the type of performance they put in deeper into the match.
Glasgow Warriors vs. Leinster – Key Clashes
There will be a number of interesting subplots when these two teams meet at Celtic Park on Saturday, May 25.
Both teams are stacked with international talent well capable of turning a game on its head. From clashes between powerful forwards to the exchanges between slick, cunning backs, there are plenty of reasons for this game catching the attention of fans.
Now, let’s take a little look at some of the duels that will go down in the PRO14 Final.
Johnny Sexton vs. Adam Hastings
Ireland’s star out-half is the current World Rugby Player of the Year.
The Leinster 10 is a class above and will certainly be targeted by the bigger boys in this Glasgow team. His ability to direct play, fire up his backs, and get his forwards going will be crucial to Leinster’s chances of defending their PRO14 title.
Of course, Glasgow’s Adam Hastings — son of the legendary Scot, Gavin Hastings — will be aiming to come out of his faceoff with Sexton smelling of roses.
Hastings is multi-talented and can play in a number of positions. His skill with the ball in hand and his exceptional kicking game make him a big danger to the Irish province.
Stuart Hogg vs. Rob Kearney
Hogg is a player that certainly needs no introduction.
In what will be his final game for Glasgow, the outstanding fullback will want to go out with a bang. The only way to consider his last hurrah as a success will be, of course, to win the PRO14 title.
Rob Kearney is another player that could be making his last appearance for his current team in this game.
Ireland’s Mr. Consistent has been a great service to the Dubliners for almost two decades, and fans will be desperate to see him leave with another trophy.
Both of these guys will be desperate to get one over on each other.
James Lowe vs. Tommy Seymour
James Lowe and Tommy Seymour are two of the deadliest finishers in the PRO14.
Lowe is among the most popular of the Leinster players with fans, as Seymour is for Glasgow. The two are dangerously fast and flashy and have a real eye for a gap.
If there are two players who are most likely to grab the first try on Saturday, May 25, you would have to give Lowe and Seymour the nod. After all, half a chance is all that is required by either man to cause serious damage to the opposition.
Lowe and Seymour’s clash is set to be one of the highlights of what should already be a classic match.
I sure can’t wait to see who comes out on top.
Betting on Glasgow Warriors vs. Leinster
So, who are you betting on, Glasgow or Leinster?
Given the occasion, this is bound to be a tough choice for the majority of rugby betting fans.
Glasgow looked so good against Ulster in the semi-finals, and their odds of +150 with Bovada certainly warrant consideration. This is a team that can score points and that has the quality to stand up to any team on any given day.
That said, the last team that they would have wanted to face in the PRO14 Final is Leinster.
The Irish rugby powerhouse is the defending champions, five-time PRO14 winners, and made back-to-back European Rugby Challenge Cup finals, winning one.
With players like Johnny Sexton, James Lowe, Garry Ringrose, Sean O’Brien, and Tadgh Furlong, Leinster has an embarrassment of riches.
Glasgow has some incredible talent of their own. They’ve got Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Zander Ferguson, Callum Gibbins, and plenty more where that comes from.
Still, this is a team game, and both sides will need to be at their very best to win this game.
Why Leinster Will Win the PRO14 Title
Glasgow is an excellent team that will be playing in their home city.
The occasion is one that they will rise to, but against Leinster, they are facing a team that is just so… solid.
While it would be great to see a nice send-off for Hogg, Leinster will also be saying goodbye to O’Brien and, quite possibly, Kearney, too.
So, if you think one side has a monopoly on sentiment, think again. Not that sentiment wins you games, of course.
What does win games, however, is a solid pack, an expert 10, skillful backs, and the right gameplan. While both teams can check all of the above, Leinster have that additional x-factor I believe will see them over the line.
These two outfits are difficult to separate, but given Leinster’s consistency over the past two seasons, I have to go with the Irish province to get the job done again.
This game is set to be one that should not be missed
Rugby betting fans will invariably be split over who to back, but betting against Leinster is something that has proven to be a bad idea in big games. The Irish side has a proven track record in winning when it matters, and this should see them to an unprecedented sixth PRO14 title.
Regardless of how this one works out, it will certainly not be short on excitement. Head to one of the top rugby betting sites if you’re ready to get some money down.