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Magners Preview: Glasgow Warriors v Leinster

Magners Preview: Glasgow Warriors v Leinster

Boosted by their recent European victories over Edinburgh and London Wasps, Leinster travel north to Glasgow as they attempt to get their Magners League title defence back on track. The province, minus the injured Leo Cullen and Brian O’Driscoll, will be hoping to secure their first league win in Scotland since May 2006.

MAGNERS LEAGUE: Friday, October 24

GLASGOW WARRIORS v LEINSTER, Firhill Arena, 7.30pm (live Setanta Sports Ireland/Setanta Sports 2)

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Team News: Impressive as a replacement against London Wasps last weekend, Jonathan Sexton has been included in the Leinster starting line-up for Friday’s Magners League meeting with Glasgow Warriors.

As the province look to get their Magners League title defence back on track, Sexton starts at out-half with Felipe Contepomi partnering Luke Fitzgerald at centre.

In the pack, Devin Toner starts in the second row alongside Malcolm O’Kelly with hooker John Fogarty coming into the front row alongside Cian Healy and Stan Wright.

Girvan Dempsey is a doubt at full-back due to illness and a decision on his availability will be made closer to kick off. Should he miss out, Gary Brown will take his place.

Previewing the game, Leinster coach Michael Cheika said: “It’s important that we always try to play our best, but particularly at this time of year and that’s maybe something that we haven’t done as well in the past.

“We will really need to be on song if we’re going to win our next game.

“We have two massive games in the Magners League before we play Castres in December back-to-back so it’s vital that we pick up points, starting this Friday.

“All in all we’re happy enough with how things are going, but there are some bumps and bruises to contend with.

“We need to win to claw our way back into contention (in the league) and it’s going to take a squad effort.

“We lost in the last minute up there (in Glasgow) last year and we know that it’s going to be a big game for us,” he added.

“We’re going to put everything into context, understand exactly where we are at this stage of the season and push on and improve.”

Meanwhile, having started last week’s Heineken Cup clash against Toulouse on the replacements bench, back rower Kelly Brown has been brought back into the Glasgow team for the visit of reigning Magners League champions Leinster.

The Scotland-capped Brown returns in place of Richie Vernon who made his first competitive start for the Warriors this season against the French champions.

That change in the back row is the only one made by head coach Sean Lineen, who is fielding all seven of the Warriors’ Scotland squad call-ups for the autumn internationals.

The seven players gaining international recognition are brother Max and Thom Evans, Brown, John Barclay, Dougie Hall, Graeme Morrison and Dan Parks.

GLASGOW WARRIORS: Bernardo Stortoni; Lome Fa’atau, Max Evans, Graeme Morrison, Thom Evans; Dan Parks, Mark McMillan; Kevin Tkachuk, Dougie Hall, Ed Kalman, Dan Turner, Alastair Kellock (capt), Kelly Brown, John Barclay, Johnnie Beattie.

Replacements (from): Pat McArthur, Moray Low, Tim Barker, Stevie Swindall, Richie Vernon, Colin Gregor, Ruaridh Jackson, Andrew Henderson, Hefin O’Hare.

LEINSTER: Girvan Dempsey/Gary Brown; Shane Horgan, Luke Fitzgerald, Felipe Contepomi, Rob Kearney; Jonathan Sexton, Chris Whitaker (capt); Cian Healy, John Fogarty, Stan Wright, Devin Toner, Malcolm O’Kelly, Rocky Elsom, Shane Jennings, Jamie Heaslip

Replacements (from): Brian Blaney, CJ Van Der Linde, Trevor Hogan, Stephen Keogh, Sean O’Brien, Chris Keane, Gary Brown, Simon Keogh.

Referee: Gwyn Morris (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Rob Dickson, David Anderson (both Scotland)
Television Match Official: Iain Ramage (Scotland)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Glasgow Warriors to win: 15/8; Draw: 20/1; Leinster to win: 2/5

Say What: Sean Lineen (Glasgow Warriors) – “Kelly (Brown) came on last weekend and made a huge impact. He’s had a little wake-up call but I’ve been impressed with how he has responded and it’s also great to see him back in the Scotland squad.

“As for Richie (Vernon), he had a taste of the big time last weekend and I was really encouraged by his performance. He certainly wasn’t out of his depth in such a massive game.

“We need to build on our form from last Friday (against Toulouse) – all we need is a different end result.

“The crowd was fantastic once again and with Leinster setting the pace in the Heineken Cup we need the same level of noise from the Jackie Husband stand this week.”

Girvan Dempsey (Leinster) – “Last weekend’s win over Wasps was right up there as one of our better performances, without a shadow of a doubt.

“I think that if you were to look back at the game overall, the physicality of the forwards was the platform for the second half performance, which was superb.

“It’s vital that we back up our performance on Friday night because our recent Magners League form hasn’t been as good as we would have liked.

“We know that there are areas that we need to improve upon because as the reigning champions, teams are raising their game against us and we have to match them in terms of physicality and hunger.

“They’re gunning for us and we know that each and every time we set foot on the field, we have to be on top of our game.

“Glasgow, at times, were superb against Toulouse last weekend. They’ve shown in their form so far in both competitions that they’re playing some excellent rugby.

“They have some very good ball-carrying forwards in the pack and some lively sprinters out in the back-line.

“Thom Evans is one major threat. The way he roams around looking for space means that you have to be on top of your game.

“If you man-mark players then you leave yourself open for another of their attacking threats, so we will have to be mindful and stay true to our gameplan, like we did last weekend.”

Top Scorers: 2008/09 Magners League – Points: Glasgow Warriors: Dan Parks 32; Leinster: Felipe Contepomi 59; Tries: Glasgow Warriors: Thom Evans; Leinster: Luke Fitzgerald 4.


Saturday, September 10, 2005 – Leinster 26 Glasgow Warriors 21, Donnybrook
Sunday, May 7, 2006 – Glasgow Warriors 18 Leinster 21, Firhill Arena
Friday, November 10, 2006 – Leinster 38 Glasgow Warriors 23, Donnybrook
Friday, April 6, 2007 – Glasgow Warriors 26 Leinster 20, Hughenden
Friday, October 12, 2007 – Glasgow Warriors 21 Leinster 17, Firhill Arena
Friday, March 21, 2008 – Leinster 34 Glasgow Warriors 18, The RDS


– Glasgow Warriors have won just one of their last five matches – 34-20 against the Scarlets at Firhill Arena in the Magners League on September 26

– The Warriors have won four of their last five home games in the Magners League, and have not lost at Firhill to an Irish team since Leinster won there 21-18 on May 7, 2006

– Leinster have won back-to-back matches in the Heineken Cup. In the Magners League they have lost their last two games. Another defeat would represent the province’s worst league run since the 2003/04 season

– Leinster have won three of their last four games against Scottish opposition but have not won a league game in Scotland since their 31-8 victory over Edinburgh at Murrayfield in May 2006