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Heineken Cup Preview: Glasgow Warriors v Leinster

Heineken Cup Preview: Glasgow Warriors v Leinster

Glasgow Warriors have turned Firhill Stadium into something of a fortress in this season’s Heineken Cup, with Bath and Montpellier already beaten at the Maryhill venue. But defending champions Leinster, with a quarter-final place in the offing, should prove too strong for them.

HEINEKEN CUP: POOL 3: Sunday, January 15

GLASGOW WARRIORS (3rd) v LEINSTER (1st), Firhill Stadium, 12.45pm (live Sky Sports 2/HD2)

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Team News: The Leinster team to face Glasgow Warriors in Sunday’s Heineken Cup Pool 3 clash at Firhill Stadium has been named.

Rob Kearney starts at full-back in a back three which also includes his younger brother David – with the 22-year-old set to make his Heineken Cup debut – and Isa Nacewa.

At half-back scrum half Eoin Reddan links up with Jonathan Sexton, who is a single point shy of 700 points in 84 appearances for Leinster to date.

In a starting pack which includes eight Ireland internationals, Shane Jennings starts alongside Sean O’Brien and Jamie Heaslip in the back row with Devin Toner partnering skipper Leo Cullen in the second row.

Meanwhile, the Glasgow Warriors starting line-up for the game shows ten changes from the narrow away defeat to Scarlets last weekend.

Five of the switches come in the pack where John Barclay comes in at number 8 for Ryan Wilson, while captain Al Kellock and Richie Gray team up in the second row.

Pat MacArthur returns at hooker and Ed Kalman starts at tighthead prop in the absence of injury victims Michael Cusack (ankle) and Moray Low (knee).

Behind the scrum, Chris Cusiter and Duncan Weir resume their half-back partnership, Colin Shaw takes one of the wing berths – with David Lemi ineligible for Heineken Cup games – and Stuart Hogg will be in the centre alongside Graeme Morrison.

At full-back, the Warriors welcome back Rory Lamont, who has been unavailable for selection since suffering a blow to the head/face in the December 26 derby away to Edinburgh.

Rob Harley will start at blindside flanker after being cleared to play following a RaboDirect PRO12 hearing. He picked up his third yellow card of the season during the Scarlets game last Saturday, but the disciplinary committee imposed no suspension.

GLASGOW WARRIORS: Rory Lamont; Tommy Seymour, Stuart Hogg, Graeme Morrison, Colin Shaw; Duncan Weir, Chris Cusiter; Jon Welsh, Pat MacArthur, Ed Kalman, Richie Gray, Al Kellock (capt), Rob Harley, Chris Fusaro, John Barclay.

Replacements: Dougie Hall, Gordon Reid, Ryan Grant, Tom Ryder, Johnnie Beattie, Colin Gregor, Troy Nathan, Scott Wight.

LEINSTER: Rob Kearney; David Kearney, Fergus McFadden, Gordon D’Arcy, Isa Nacewa; Jonathan Sexton, Eoin Reddan; Cian Healy, Sean Cronin, Mike Ross, Leo Cullen (capt), Devin Toner, Sean O’Brien, Shane Jennings, Jamie Heaslip.

Replacements: Aaron Dundon, Heinke van der Merwe, Nathan White, Damian Browne, Rhys Ruddock, Isaac Boss, Ian Madigan, Eoin O’Malley.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Gwyn Morris, Jonathan Mason (both Wales)
Television Match Official: Derek Bevan (Wales)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Glasgow Warriors to win: 3/1; Draw: 22/1; Leinster to win: 1/4

Pre-Match Quotes: Guy Easterby (Leinster) – “We are doing okay at the moment, but we are not getting ahead of ourselves and we know that we have got a massive game this weekend.

“No one is pretending that we are playing perfect rugby but we are winning games. In big European games nothing but your best is going to be good enough and it’s going to be a huge game for us at Firhill.

“It’s going to be a big week. We have a couple of injuries to look at, Johnny (Sexton) had a tight hamstring and (Gordon) D’Arcy got a bang on the ribs but they should both be fine.

“Glasgow are playing well at the moment and are playing with a lot of confidence so it’s going to be a huge game.”

Sean Lineen (Glasgow Warriors) – “This is the sort of game you work in rugby to be involved in. What a challenge we’ve got ahead of us, against a side who have set new standards for the rest of Europe in what they do at the contact area and how many good decisions they make right across the park.

“We know from the first game back in November that it’s going to be tough, massively so, but this is what it’s all about.

“Through a lot of hard work and determination, we’ve put ourselves in a position where we’re going into the last two pool games still very much in the mix, and we’re all excited and enthused by that.

“We’re going to have another big Firhill crowd behind us, and we’ll be doing everything we possibly can to achieve something truly special.”

Current Form – Glasgow Warriors – (RaboDirect PRO12): Lost 28-14 away to Ulster; Lost 23-12 at home to Munster; Won 23-19 away to Leinster; Lost 15-13 at home to Benetton Treviso; Won 34-14 away to the Cardiff Blues; Won 24-19 at home to the Newport Gwent Dragons; Won 28-17 at home to the Ospreys; Won 18-6 away to Aironi Rugby; (Heineken Cup): Won 26-21 at home to Bath; Lost 38-13 away to Leinster; (RaboDirect PRO12): Won 17-9 at home to Ulster; Drew 14-14 away to the Newport Gwent Dragons; (Heineken Cup): Won 20-15 at home to Montpellier; Drew 13-13 away to Montpellier; (RaboDirect PRO12): Drew 23-23 away to Edinburgh; Won 17-12 at home to Edinburgh; Lost 16-14 away to the Scarlets

Leinster – (RaboDirect PRO12): Lost 27-3 away to the Ospreys; Won 31-10 at home to the Newport Gwent Dragons; Lost 23-19 at home to Glasgow Warriors; Won 15-10 away to the Scarlets; Won 26-7 at home to Aironi Rugby; Won 30-20 at home to Connacht; Won 36-28 away to Edinburgh; Won 24-19 at home to Munster; (Heineken Cup): Drew 16-16 with Montpellier; Won 38-13 at home to Glasgow Warriors; (RaboDirect PRO12): Won 30-20 away to Benetton Treviso; Won 52-9 at home to the Cardiff Blues; (Heineken Cup): Won 18-13 away to Bath; Won 52-27 at home to Bath; (RaboDirect PRO12): Won 42-13 at home to Ulster; Won 15-13 away to Connacht; Won 23-19 away to Cardiff Blues

Top Scorers – 2011/12 Heineken Cup: Glasgow Warriors – Points: Duncan Weir 41; Tries: Stuart Hogg, Richie Gray, Henry Pyrgos, Federico Aramburu, Rory Lamont 1 each; Leinster – Points: Jonathan Sexton 60; Tries: Eoin O’Malley, Luke Fitzgerald, Rob Kearney 2 each

Previous European Meetings: 5

Sunday, November 20 – Pool 3 – Leinster 38 Glasgow Warriors 13, the RDS
Saturday, January 14, 2006 – Pool 5 – Leinster 46 Glasgow Warriors 22, the RDS
Sunday, October 30, 2005 – Pool 5 – Glasgow Warriors 20 Leinster 33, Hughenden
Friday, January 7, 2000 – Pool 1 – Leinster 44 Glasgow Warriors 17, Donnybrook
Friday, November 26, 1999 – Pool 1 – Glasgow Warriors 29 Leinster 17, Hughenden

Heineken Cup Records:

Glasgow Warriors –
2010/11: Failed to qualify from Pool 6
2009/10: Failed to qualify from Pool 2
2008/09: Failed to qualify from Pool 5
2007/08: Failed to qualify from Pool 4
2005/06: Failed to qualify from Pool 5
2004/05: Failed to qualify from Pool 3
2002/03: Failed to qualify from Pool 3
2001/02: Failed to qualify from Pool 5
2000/01: Failed to qualify from Pool 6
1999/00: Failed to qualify from Pool 1
1998/99: Failed to qualify from Pool D
1997/98: Reached the quarter-final play-offs

Leinster –
2010/11: Champions
2009/10: Reached the semi-finals
2008/09: Champions
2007/08: Failed to qualify from Pool 6
2006/07: Reached the quarter-finals
2005/06: Reached the semi-finals
2004/05: Reached the quarter-finals
2003/04: Failed to qualify from Pool 3
2002/03: Reached the semi-finals
2001/02: Reached the quarter-finals
2000/01: Failed to qualify from Pool 1
1999/00: Failed to qualify from Pool 1
1998/99: Failed to qualify from Pool A
1997/98: Failed to qualify from Pool A
1996/97: Failed to qualify from Pool B
1995/96: Reached the semi-finals