It is first against ninth in the Magners League tonight as Michael Cheika’s table-topping Leinster side travel to Hughenden to meet Glasgow.
MAGNERS LEAGUE: Friday, April 6
GLASGOW WARRIORS (9th) v LEINSTER (1st), Hughenden, 7.30pm (live Setanta Ireland)
Team News: There are three changes to the Leinster starting line-up from the side that lost out to Wasps in last Saturday’s Heineken Cup quarter-final.
Christian Warner replaces Kieran Lewis to form a new centre partnership with Gordon D’Arcy. Bernard Jackman makes way for Brian Blaney at hooker, while a rib injury for Stephen Keogh means Cameron Jowitt has been promoted to blindside flanker from the bench.
In the injury-enforced absence of Brian O’Driscoll, Argentinian out-half Felipe Contepomi will continue as the province’s captain.
Harry Vermaas, Kevin McLaughlin and Luke Fitzgerald are new inclusions on the Leinster bench.
Glasgow coach Sean Lineen has opted to make just one change to the side that lost to Saracens in last Sunday’s European Challenge Cup quarter-final.
An elbow injury has ruled Andrew Henderson out of contention, so Scott Barrow comes in at inside centre.
Lineen admitted: “We haven’t beaten Leinster in a while and both teams are now fully focused on the Magners League. We’ve got five games left of our season and a lot to prove. We’re hoping for a good crowd as it’ll be a great night for fast running rugby.”
Glasgow: Rory Lamont; Hefin O’Hare, Graeme Morrison, Scott Barrow, Thom Evans; Dan Parks, Graeme Beveridge; Justin Va’a, Fergus Thomson, Euan Murray, Andy Newman, Alastair Kellock (capt), Steve Swindall, John Barclay, John Beattie.
Replacements: Scott Lawson, Kevin Tkachuk, Dan Turner, Andrew Wilson, Donnie Macfadyen, Colin Gregor, Colin Shaw.
Leinster: Girvan Dempsey; Shane Horgan, Gordon D’Arcy, Christian Warner, Denis Hickie; Felipe Contepomi (capt), Chris Whitaker; Stan Wright, Brian Blaney, Will Green, Trevor Hogan, Malcolm O’Kelly, Cameron Jowitt, Keith Gleeson, Jamie Heaslip.
Replacements: Reggie Corrigan, Harry Vermaas, Owen Finegan, Kevin McLaughlin, Guy Easterby, Luke Fitzgerald, Rob Kearney.
Referee: Tim Hayes (Wales)
Touch Judges: David Jack, Gary Duncan (both Scotland)
Team League Statistics: Glasgow: Top Points Scorer – Dan Parks 125 (3 tries, 16 conversions, 24 penalty goals and 2 drop goals); Top Try Scorers – Dan Parks, Thom Evans, Kevin Tkachuk 3 each
Leinster: Top Points Scorer – Felipe Contepomi 137 (2 tries, 26 conversions and 25 penalty goals); Top Try Scorers – Jamie Heaslip, Denis Hickie 6 each
Previous League Meetings:
August 2001 – Leinster 39 Glasgow 11, Donnybrook
December 2001 – Semi-final – Leinster 35 Glasgow 13, Lansdowne Road
September 2002 – Glasgow 25 Leinster 21, Hughenden
October 2003 – Glasgow 10 Leinster 31, Hughenden
April 2004 – Leinster 31 Glasgow 30, Donnybrook
November 2004 – Leinster 22 Glasgow 15, Donnybrook
April 2005 – Glasgow 23 Leinster 30, Hughenden
September 2005 – Leinster 26 Glasgow 21, Donnybrook
May 2006 – Glasgow 18 Leinster 21, Firhill
November 2006 – Leinster 38 Glasgow 23, Donnybrook
– Glasgow Warriors narrowly lost their European Challenge Cup quarter-final tie at Saracens last Sunday, but they have been defeated just once at Hughenden in their last ten matches in all competitions
– Top of the table Leinster have won five in-a-row in the Magners League and have been beaten just once in the league since October – they lost at Munster on December 27
– Leinster have won the last ten contests between themselves and Glasgow in all competitions, with the Warriors’ last win in the series back in September 2002 when they triumphed 25-21 at Hughenden
– In their previous ten league meetings with Glasgow, Leinster have average three tries per game. Chris Whitaker, Brian Blaney, Jamie Heaslip, Denis Hickie and Keith Gleeson all touched down at Donnybrook in November when the Scots were beaten 38-23
– Flanker Keith Gleeson has scored a try in each of his last two outings against Glasgow, while Rob Kearney, who is on the bench for tonight’s game, has tallied up 21 points (2 tries, a conversion and 3 penalties) in his last three appearances against the Scots