Having salvaged a late draw against Montpellier, reigning Heineken Cup champions Leinster are back on home soil this weekend determined to leapfrog Glasgow Warriors at the top of Pool 3.
HEINEKEN CUP: POOL 3: Sunday, November 20
LEINSTER (2nd) v GLASGOW WARRIORS (1st), the RDS, 12.45pm (live Sky Sports 3/HD3)
Team News: The Leinster team to meet Glasgow Warriors in Sunday’s Heineken Cup Pool 3 clash at the RDS has been named.
Eoin Reddan will make his first start of the season, lining out at half-back alongside Jonathan Sexton who will be winning his 80th Leinster cap.
The chosen back-line shows two changes from the one which started the opening round 16-16 draw in Montpellier last weekend.
With Fergus McFadden ruled out with a dead leg, Eoin O’Malley comes in for his third Heineken Cup appearance. The 23-year-old will partner Gordon D’Arcy in the centre. Luke Fitzgerald continues in the back-three alongside Rob Kearney and Isa Nacewa.
Up front, Sean Cronin has been handed his first Heineken Cup start after an impressive try-scoring display in France. He starts in the front row beside fellow Ireland international Mike Ross and Heinke van der Merwe.
Leo Cullen partners the province’s Player of the Month Devin Toner in the second row with Kevin McLaughlin continuing alongside Sean O’Brien and Jamie Heaslip in the back row. In all, there are five Ireland internationals on the bench including the fit-again Cian Healy.
With over 17,250 tickets already for Sunday’s lunchtime kick-off, supporters are reminded that although tickets are selling fast, there are still some available online here and from the Leinster Rugby Store (Donnybrook), Spar (Donnybrook) and Ticketmaster outlets nationwide.
Meanwhile, Glasgow Warriors head coach Lineen has largely kept faith with the team that delivered a third successive home Heineken Cup success against English opposition last time out.
Two of the three changes to the matchday 23 from the Bath game are injury-enforced, Peter Murchie replacing Rob Dewey (shoulder) at outside centre, and Finlay Gillies coming onto the bench to cover for Dougie Hall, who is suffering from a dead leg.
Loosehead prop Jon Welsh makes a welcome return as a replacement, having recovered from the ankle injury he sustained on the first night of the RaboDirect PRO12 season away to Ulster.
Following a Heineken Cup loss to London Irish in October 2009, Leinster went 28 home matches unbeaten, a run that only came to an end when the Warriors claimed a 23-19 victory in the league two months ago.
LEINSTER: Rob Kearney; Isa Nacewa, Eoin O’Malley, Gordon D’Arcy, Luke Fitzgerald; Jonathan Sexton, Eoin Reddan; Heinke van der Merwe, Sean Cronin, Mike Ross, Leo Cullen (capt), Devin Toner, Kevin McLaughlin, Sean O’Brien, Jamie Heaslip.
Replacements: Richardt Strauss, Cian Healy, Nathan White, Rhys Ruddock, Shane Jennings, Isaac Boss, Ian Madigan, Fionn Carr.
GLASGOW WARRIORS: Stuart Hogg; Tommy Seymour, Peter Murchie, Graeme Morrison, Colin Shaw; Duncan Weir, Chris Cusiter; Ryan Grant, Pat MacArthur, Mike Cusack, Richie Gray, Al Kellock (capt), Rob Harley, John Barclay, Ryan Wilson.
Replacements: Finlay Gillies, Jon Welsh, Ed Kalman, Tom Ryder, Henry Pyrgos, Chris Fusaro, Troy Nathan, Federico Aramburu.
Referee: Andrew Small (England)
Assistant Referees: Martin Fox, Roy Maybank (both England)
Television Match Official: Graham Hughes (England)
Match Odds (Paddy Power): Leinster to win: 1/18; Draw: 40/1; Glasgow Warriors to win: 8/1
Pre-Match Quotes: Isaac Boss (Leinster) – “We were away in France last week and it’s never easy to go there. Last year we went there and lost to Clermont and came through that pool strongly.
“I don’t think that just because we drew with Montpellier that there’s anything to read into. Glasgow won last weekend and they are playing well and they are not afraid of coming to the RDS.
“They have won here already this season, so we have to win our matches at home and get our campaign back on track.
“(Jonny’s late penalty against Montpellier) was a great example to set for the boys. When the time was needed he delivered.
“If it wasn’t for him on that last kick we would have been coming home with only one point. He’d say himself he still has a few areas to work on but that was critical.
“You always want to know where Jonny is and you want him to want to be in control of the game. He is never found wanting in that regard. You know exactly what he wants from you and all you have to do is get there and get the ball away to him.”
Pat MacArthur (Glasgow Warriors) – “When you get the first game of the Heineken Cup at home, it is absolutely vital you make the most of that and we managed to get the win (against Bath).
“To be going to Leinster next with the momentum of five wins on the bounce behind us is massive and to have already beaten them at the RDS gives us another big confidence boost.
“We didn’t play particularly well, but we got the win and that is the mark of a team playing with confidence.
“I do think it will be a different type of game, though, and probably be more expansive. We just have to go to the RDS and play with more belief.
“But we are a young side and we are growing with every win and (the round 1 victory) was a huge one for us against a top Aviva Premiership team that is packed with world class experience and talent.”
Current Form – 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
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
Top Scorers – 2011/12 Heineken Cup: Leinster – Points: Jonathan Sexton 11; Tries: Sean Cronin 1; Glasgow Warriors – Points: Duncan Weir 16; Tries: Stuart Hogg, Richie Gray 1 each
Previous European Meetings: 4
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:
2009/10: Reached the semi-finals
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
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