Leinster have won their last ten Magners League matches played at the RDS and Glasgow Warriors are looking to set a new club record as they are unbeaten in their last six league games, so there is plenty to play for in Friday’s top of the table clash.
MAGNERS LEAGUE: Friday, January 8
LEINSTER (3rd) v GLASGOW WARRIORS (1st), The RDS, 8pm (live Setanta Sports Ireland)
Team News: The Leinster team to face the Glasgow Warriors in Friday night’s Magners League meeting at the RDS has been named.
Following a pitch inspection at the RDS on Thursday morning, the Leinster v Glasgow Warriors fixture will proceed as planned, however the playing surface and supporters’ areas will continue to be monitored.
The Health & Safety Officer Eamonn O’Boyle, from Eamonn O’Boyle & Associates, is drawing up a plan regarding proposed new access routes into the ground for supporters because of the recent adverse weather.
In team news, Brian O’Driscoll will partner Fergus McFadden in midfield in a back-line which sees Jonathan Sexton starting at out-half for his first time since sustaining a hand injury with Ireland in the GUINNESS Series win over South Africa.
Shane Jennings, back after his 12-week suspension, will captain the side for the visit of Glasgow and is included in a back row which features Kevin McLaughlin and Jamie Heaslip, with Nathan Hines partnering Devin Toner in the second row.
Meanwhile, Glasgow Warriors have made two changes – the second forced on them by a late withdrawal – to the team that secured the 1872 Cup last weekend with a second successive win over Edinburgh.
The late change sees hooker Dougie Hall miss out as he has failed to recover sufficiently from a shoulder/upper back injury. His place is the starting line-up has been taken by fellow Scotland international Fergus Thomson, with Pat MacArthur joining the replacements bench.
The initial change made by coach Sean Lineen was in the back row where Johnnie Beattie was restored at number 8, taking over from ‘flu victim Richie Vernon.
The Warriors have also named long term absentees James Eddie and Rob Dewey on their bench. Back rower Eddie and former Ulster centre Dewey had been sidelined by shoulder and ankle injuries respectively.
LEINSTER: Girvan Dempsey; Isa Nacewa, Brian O’Driscoll, Fergus McFadden, Rob Kearney; Jonathan Sexton, Eoin Reddan; Cian Healy, John Fogarty, Stan Wright, Devin Toner, Nathan Hines, Kevin McLaughlin, Shane Jennings (capt), Jamie Heaslip.
Replacements: Bernard Jackman, Mike Ross, Malcolm O’Kelly, Stephen Keogh, Paul O’Donohoe, Shaun Berne, Simon Keogh.
GLASGOW WARRIORS: Bernardo Stortoni; DTH van der Merwe, Max Evans, Graeme Morrison, Thom Evans; Dan Parks, Chris Cusiter; Jon Welsh, Fergus Thomson, Moray Low, Alastair Kellock (capt), Richie Gray, Kelly Brown, John Barclay, Johnnie Beattie.
Replacements: Pat MacArthur, Kevin Tkachuk, Dan Turner, James Eddie, Colin Gregor, Ruaridh Jackson, Rob Dewey.
Referee: James Jones (Wales)
Assistant Referees: David Wilkinson, Leo Colgan (both Ireland)
Television Match Official: Tony Redmond (Ireland)
Match Odds (Paddy Power): Leinster to win: 1/7; Draw: 33/1; Glasgow Warriors to win: 4/1
Pre-Match Quotes: Jono Gibbes (Leinster) – “The players trained really well today (Wednesday) and everyone has got their fingers crossed that the RDS ground staff are able to work a miracle and the weather co-operates to enable this game to go ahead.
“It’s pretty important that the match goes ahead (in the context of last weekend’s postponement), but also because we’re back at the RDS and we get to face the top of the table team.
“Glasgow are really confident and have been consistently performing this year, so we get to measure ourselves and take them on and try to challenge them.
“It would be less than ideal to go into those (Heineken Cup) games without two weekends of rugby, but in saying that these are the cards that you’re dealt and it wouldn’t be the worst thing either because the few players who had bumps and bruises might benefit from the break.
“I thought that the direction that Shaunie (Berne) gave us in Jonathan Sexton’s absence was fantastic and I’m sure that Jono can settle into the driving seat, just as Shaunie did, if selected.
“From a forwards point of view, as long as they look after us and play it in front of us, we’ll be happy!
“Shane (Jennings) has been fantastic really. Obviously he did a bit of pre-season work and up-skilling in different organisations in Australia. He has been working on game-day, running the water and giving messages and his training involvement has been good.
“He has been organising and helping Kurt (McQuilkin) and is such a good organiser of our on-field defence which is a big help.
“I think that he’s a selfless guy and a real team man. He never pushes his own agendas and we’re looking forward to having him back on the field.
“Twelve weeks is a long time not to play and it would be really good for him to get a run.”
Sean Lineen (Glasgow Warriors) – “This is a massive challenge. It’s a bit like a mini version of Scotland going across to Dublin at the end of March for the last game of the Six Nations.
“We are going across and playing half the Irish team and we may have half the Scottish team the way the guys are going.
“There is no more difficult place to go and do it, but there are no excuses – it is all to do with making sure Glasgow win.
“It’s actually a similar position to last season when we went across to play Leinster the week before their Heineken Cup quarter-final and we were winning after 60 minutes as the boys really tore into them, but the game got away from us and we conceded four tries.
“We have to make sure that does not happen again. We’re mentally fitter now though, a year older, and we’re learning.
“Competition for places is already very intense at Glasgow and the return of James (Eddie) and Rob (Dewey) to the matchday squad will fuel that even further.
“Everyone is challenging each other at training so it’s great to have two quality players back and available for selection.”
Top Scorers – 2009/10 Magners League: Leinster – Points: Jonathan Sexton 71; Tries: Shane Horgan 2; Glasgow Warriors – Points: Dan Parks 138; Tries: Thom Evans 4
RECENT LEAGUE MEETINGS:
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
Friday, October 24, 2008 – Glasgow Warriors 15 Leinster 12, Firhill Arena
Saturday, April 25, 2009 – Leinster 36 Glasgow Warriors 13, The RDS
– Leinster have won four of their last five games in all competitions, and have won their last ten Magners League fixtures played at the RDS
– Glasgow Warriors continue to set the pace in the Magners League. The Warriors are unbeaten in their last six league matches and should they not lose this game, they will set a new Glasgow unbeaten record in the Magners League
– Glasgow have their last four encounters with Irish sides
– The last six meetings between the two teams have all been won by the home side on the day, while Glasgow have never won in 11 previous matches on Leinster soil in all competitions