06/09/2002. Connacht, Munster and Ulster are all at home this evening for the second round of the Celtic League while title holders Leinster Lions face a tricky trip to Scotland.
Connacht, Munster and Ulster are all at home this evening for the second round of the Celtic League while title holders Leinster Lions face a tricky trip to Scotland.
And Leinster coach Matt Williams has yet to name a side for the game against Glasgow (7.30pm) at Hughenden (Hillhead RFC) because of injury doubts and the late withdrawal of influential number 8 Victor Costello who has been called up to the national squad.
Leinster face a Glasgow side who opened their Celtic League campaign with a win in Cardiff and they’ll be hoping to build on that victory by taking the very considerable scalp of the reigning champions.
Glenn Metcalfe will have his first game of the season for Glasgow. The Scotland full back will be on the left wing, after recovering from a viral complaint that kept him out of the Glasgow team for the first four matches of the season. However, he has now fully recovered, and Kiwi Searancke, Glasgow’s head coach, has had no hesitation in recalling the international back.
In all, the Glasgow coach has made three changes from the team that started in the Cardiff match (Glasgow won 44-35), Metcalfe for Michael Bartlett, Andy Nicol for Graeme Beveridge at scrum half, and David Hilton for Lee Harrison at tight head. The scrum halves, however, merely swap places between the starting XV and the replacements’ bench, as do the two tight heads.
Bartlett, who scored two of Glasgow’s five tries against Cardiff, has been listed among the replacements. However, he has been suffering from tonsillitis, and though his is expected to be fit to be in the match squad, he has been bracketed with Ian McInroy among the replacements.
Glasgow not only won at Cardiff Arms Park for the first time, but by scoring their five tries they also collected a bonus point. Only one other team took the maximum of five points from their opening match, and that was none other than Hughenden visitors, Leinster, who recorded a 31-18 home win against Pontypridd.
But this time around Leinster are without their star performers, including the three players, Brian O’Driscoll, Denis Hickie and Malcolm O’Kelly, who scored their five tries that night. It will be an opportunity for Williams to assess the strength of his squad and despite the absentees, you would have to fancy the Leinster Lions to eek out a win. If they do it will, in the circumstances, equal anything they’ve achieved in the past.
GlasgowStuart Moffat; Jon Steel, Alan Bulloch, Tommy Hayes, Glenn Metcalfe; Calvin Howarth, Andy Nicol (captain); Cameron Blades, Gordon Bulloch, David Hilton; Andrew Hall, Jason White; Gordon Simpson, Donnie Macfadyen, Jon Petrie.
(Referee – Nigel Whitehouse WRU)
Scotland and British Lions lock Scott Murray has recovered from a knee injury and is named in Edinburgh Rugby’s team to play Ulster (Ravenhill, 7.30pm).
Edinburgh’s head coach Frank Hadden said: “Scott’s return is a real bonus for us. The physios have done a magnificent job there.”
Other changes to the starting line-up following last week’s victory over Swansea see Derrick Lee return after injury for Conan Sharman and Mike Blair start at scrum-half for the incapacitated Graeme Burns.
With David Humphreys on international duty, Paddy Wallace will wear the number 10 jersey for Ulster with Bryn Cunningham at full back in a side that will be led for the first time by Jonathan Bell.
Ulster. Bryn Cunningham; Sheldon Coulter, Ryan Constable, Jonathan Bell (capt), Tyrone Howe; Paddy Wallace, Neil Doak; Robbie Kempson, Matt Sexton, Simon Best; Tony McWhirter/Mark Blair/Jeremy Davidson; Warren Brosnihan, Neil McMillan, Russell Nelson.
Edinburgh. Brendan Laney; Derrick Lee, MArcus Di Rollo, Alistair Dickson, Chris Paterson, Duncan Hodge, Mike Blair; Allan Jacobsen, Carlo Di Ciacca, Craig Smith; Nathan Hines, Scott Murray; Todd Blackadder (capt), Simon Taylor, Martin Leslie.
(Referee – Hugh Watkins WRU).
Meanwhile Cardiff make nine changes, two of them positional, from last week’s starting line-up against Glasgow, for the trip to Galway and their clash with Connacht, Sportsground, 6pm.
Jamie Robinson returns at centre, Richard Smith and Nick Robinson feature at half-back, and in the pack Peter Rogers, Andrew Lewis, Adam Jones and Rob Appleyard are selected.
Jim Brownrigg switches to number 8 in the absence through injury of Emyr Lewis, and in the threequarter line Nick Walne moves from centre to right wing. Rhys Williams, who last week scored his 40th try in 82 first team games, continues at full back.
Unavailable through injury were Pieter Muller (knee), Dean Dewdney (back spasms), Emyr Lewis (sternum), and Spencer John (neck).
Connacht. M. McHugh; T. Robinson, D. Yapp, T. Allnutt (capt.), W. Munn; E Elwood, E. Reddan; R. McCormack, M. Uijs, P. Bracken; W. Waugh, R. Frost; M. Swift, E. Peters, P. Neville.
Cardiff. Rhys Williams; Nick Walne, Jamie Robinson, Matt Allen, Craig Morgan; Nick Robinson, Richard Smith; Peter Rogers, Andrew Lewis, Kenneth Fourie, Adam Jones, John Tait, Rob Appleyard, Jim Brownrigg, Martyn Williams (capt).
(Referee – John Hogg SRU)
Munster have received the boost of having Alan Quinlan available for the visit of Ebbw Vale to Musgrave Park (7.35pm). Quinlan had been whisked into the national squad earlier this week but has since returned to the Munster fold. Captain Jim Williams returns to action as does John O’Neill, while Garryowen prop Rob Laffin is named in the replacements with Denis Leamy also on the bench in place of Eddie Halvey.
Munster. Jeremy Staunton, John O’Neill, Mike Mullins, Jason Holland, Mossie Lawlor, Killian Keane, Dominic Malone, Marcus Horan, James Blaney, Simon Kerr, Mick Galwey, Mick O’Driscoll, Alan Quinlan, Colm McMahon, Jim Williams (capt).
Richard Davies, Matthew Rowlands, Rhys Shorney, Martin Ridley, Aaron Takarangi, Mark Meenan, Bryan Shelbourne, Adam Black, John Evans, David Jones, Ockert Booyse, Neil Edwards, Kati Tuipuloti, Will Thomas, Tyron Morris.
(Referee – Tony Spreadbury RFU).