Heineken Cup finalists Leinster are back on domestic duty tonight as they look to gain revenge on Glasgow Warriors for an early season defeat and secure home advantage in the Magners League semi-finals.
MAGNERS LEAGUE: Friday, May 6
LEINSTER (2nd) v GLASGOW WARRIORS (11th), the RDS, 7.05pm (live TG4)
Team News: The Leinster team to face the Glasgow Warriors in Friday night’s Magners League clash at the RDS has been named.
Number 8 Jamie Heaslip leads a team which shows ten changes, including one positional switch, to the side that defeated Toulouse in the Heineken Cup semi-finals last weekend.
Heaslip links up in the back row with new inclusions Dominic Ryan and Shane Jennings, with Kevin McLaughlin switching to second row alongside Devin Toner.
Jack McGrath will make his sixth Magners League appearance in the front row alongside Richardt Strauss and Stan Wright.
Gordon D’Arcy lines up at centre alongside Eoin O’Malley, who has featured in 19 games so far this season. Fergus McFadden, meanwhile, is set to bring up his half century of caps in Leinster colours on the left wing.
Cian Healy is one of four international forwards on the province’s replacements bench alongside Nathan Hines, Mike Ross and Rhys Ruddock.
There will be a specially themed bumper ‘Kids Takeover Day’ at the RDS this Friday evening.
Great value family tickets are available now for only €;50 for two adults and two children here and tickets are available from Ticketmaster outlets nationwide and will be on sale around the ground on the night.
Meanwhile, one of Glasgow Warriors’ most promising prospects will make his professional debut against Heineken Cup finalists Leinster.
Centre Mark Bennett, a member of the Warriors’ Elite Development Programme and part of the Ayr squad that reached the knockout stages of the British & Irish Cup, has been named as one of five personnel changes to the team that played the Scarlets at Firhill a fortnight ago.
Commenting on the 18-year-old Bennett, Warriors head coach Sean Lineen said: “The lad has real talent. He’s raw, but he’s good enough, and he’s added a renewed energy to training this week.
“I’ve got no worries about him physically – he’s a young lad but he’s tough. This experience will be good for him.
“It’ll be a big test but I wouldn’t put him in there unless I thought he was good enough and we’ve had a pretty good track record with the youngsters that we’ve brought through.”
Also among the changes is out-half Duncan Weir, who comes in for Ruaridh Jackson. Bennett slots in at outside centre and Peter Murchie moves to full-back as a result, where he takes over from Bernardo Stortoni who drops out of the matchday squad altogether.
On the right wing, Stortoni’s Argentinian compatriot Federico Aramburu is given the nod ahead of Hefin O’Hare who also drops out of the travelling party.
In the forwards, Moray Low is the only front row survivor as Ryan Grant is reinstalled ahead of Kevin Tkachuk and Fergus Thomson is preferred to Dougie Hall at hooker.
LEINSTER: Isa Nacewa; Shane Horgan, Eoin O’Malley, Gordon D’Arcy, Fergus McFadden; Ian Madigan, Isaac Boss; Jack McGrath, Richardt Strauss, Stan Wright, Kevin McLaughlin, Devin Toner, Dominic Ryan, Shane Jennings, Jamie Heaslip (capt).
Replacements: Aaron Dundon, Cian Healy, Mike Ross, Nathan Hines, Rhys Ruddock, Paul O’Donohoe, Ian McKinley, David Kearney.
GLASGOW WARRIORS: Peter Murchie; Federico Aramburu, Mark Bennett, Graeme Morrison (capt), DTH van der Merwe; Duncan Weir, Chris Cusiter; Ryan Grant, Fergus Thomson, Moray Low, Aly Muldowney, Tom Ryder, James Eddie, Richie Vernon, Johnnie Beattie.
Replacements: Dougie Hall, Jon Welsh, Kevin Tkachuk, Robert Harley, Chris Fusaro, Colin Gregor, Ruaridh Jackson, Peter Horne.
Referee: James Jones (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Simon McDowell, Mark Patton (both Ireland)
Television Match Official: Peter Ferguson (Ireland)
Match Odds (Paddy Power): Leinster to win: 1/18; Draw: 35/1; Glasgow Warriors to win: 15/2
Pre-Match Quotes: Eoin O’Malley (Leinster) – “I have really enjoyed the last couple of seasons. It is a great place to be. There are not that many teams in Europe still in contention for two trophies.
“I’m very hungry for a game at the moment, but Friday is a dangerous one. Glasgow don’t have a whole lot to lose. They can come here and throw the ball around.
“They also have a lot of quality players, with the likes of Max Evans and Graeme Morrison in their back-line.
“The value of this game is massive (for us). A home semi-final is huge. We were going in the right direction at this stage last year and ended up with nothing. That is very clear in the back of our minds.”
Sean Lineen (Glasgow Warriors) – “We know what is going to be required and we’re determined to produce it but we know how tough they’ll make it.
“They are second in the Magners League and they need to beat us to make sure they stay there and guarantee a home semi-final in the play-offs.
“Home advantage can mean so much in the big games and they will be determined to get that.
“The defeat they suffered at our hands back in September will still rankle with them. No side wants to have another team complete the double over them.”
Top Scorers – 2010/11 Magners League: Leinster – Points: Isa Nacewa 142; Tries: Shane Horgan 7; Glasgow Warriors – Points: Duncan Weir 113; Tries: DTH van der Merwe 9
RECENT LEAGUE MEETINGS:
Friday, March 21, 2008 – Leinster 34 Glasgow Warriors 18, the RDS
Friday, October 24, 2008 – Glasgow Warriors 15 Leinster 12, Firhill Stadium
Saturday, April 25, 2009 – Leinster 36 Glasgow Warriors 13, the RDS
Thursday, March 18, 2010 – Leinster 20 Glasgow Warriors 14, the RDS
Friday, April 23, 2010 – Glasgow Warriors 30 Leinster 6, Firhill Stadium
Friday, September 3, 2010 – Glasgow Warriors 22 Leinster 19, Firhill Stadium
– The last nine encounters between the two teams have all been won by the home side on the day. Glasgow have never won on Leinster soil
– Leinster have won seven of their last eight matches in all competitions, and require a victory to guarantee a home semi-final in the Magners League
– The Leinstermen have not lost at home in the regular season of the Magners League since Munster visited the RDS on September 28, 2008
– Glasgow Warriors’ only two victories in their last 11 games in the Magners League have both been against Italian opponents
– The Warriors’ only away win this season was a 17-16 triumph at Aironi in round 19