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RaboDirect PRO12 Final Preview: Leinster v Glasgow Warriors

RaboDirect PRO12 Final Preview: Leinster v Glasgow Warriors

Leinster are hoping to send Brian O’Driscoll and Leo Cullen off into retirement in the best possible way – by outgunning Glasgow Warriors in the title shootout at the RDS and retaining their RaboDirect PRO12 crown.

RABODIRECT PRO12 FINAL: Saturday, May 31

LEINSTER (1st) v GLASGOW WARRIORS (2nd), the RDS, 6.15pm (live RTÉ Two/TG4/RTÉ Radio 1/BBC ALBA/BBC 2 Scotland/deferred coverage Setanta Ireland/worldwide TV details)

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Team News: The Leinster team to face Glasgow Warriors in Saturday’s RaboDirect PRO12 final at the RDS has been named.

Head coach Matt O’Connor has made three changes to the side that accounted for Ulster at the semi-final stage with two of those changes coming in the pack.

Mike Ross comes in for Martin Moore in the front row, while newly-appointed Emerging Ireland captain Mike McCarthy returns from injury in place of fellow lock Quinn Roux.

The final change sees Zane Kirchner come in on the left wing for Dave Kearney who undergoes surgery on an ACL knee injury today.

Elsewhere it is as you were for O’Connor with full-back Rob Kearney due to win his 150th cap for his native province.

The teams have met twice this year with both sides winning at home. Glasgow won 12-6 back in September at Scotstoun Stadium, while Leinster won the return fixture 28-25 in March with tries from Rhys Ruddock, Noel Reid and Darragh Fanning.

Meanwhile, Glasgow Warriors boss Gregor Townsend has made two changes to the team that beat Munster, with Peter Horne coming in for Mark Bennett in the centre and Gordon Reid replacing Ryan Grant at loosehead prop.
There is one positional switch in the back-line with Alex Dunbar moving to outside centre. Horne will wear the number 12 jersey.
Peter Murchie continues at full-back with Sean Maitland and Tommy Seymour completing the back-three. Finn Russell starts at half-back alongside Chris Cusiter, who is set to play his final game for the club.
The returning Reid combines in the front row with hooker Dougie Hall and tighthead Jon Welsh, while Jonny Gray, who was named the Glasgow Players’ Player of the Season last week, once again partners captain Al Kellock in the second row.
Rob Harley, the club’s Player of the Season, lines up alongside Chris Fusaro and Josh Strauss in the back row.

LEINSTER: Rob Kearney; Fergus McFadden, Brian O’Driscoll, Gordon D’Arcy, Zane Kirchner; Jimmy Gopperth, Eoin Reddan; Cian Healy, Sean Cronin, Mike Ross, Devin Toner, Mike McCarthy, Rhys Ruddock, Shane Jennings, Jamie Heaslip (capt).

Replacements: Aaron Dundon, Jack McGrath, Martin Moore, Leo Cullen, Sean O’Brien, Isaac Boss, Ian Madigan, Darragh Fanning.

GLASGOW WARRIORS: Peter Murchie; Sean Maitland, Alex Dunbar, Peter Horne, Tommy Seymour; Finn Russell, Chris Cusiter; Gordon Reid, Dougie Hall, Jon Welsh, Jonny Gray, Al Kellock (capt), Rob Harley, Chris Fusaro, Josh Strauss.
Replacements: Pat MacArthur, Ryan Grant, Moray Low, Tim Swinson, Leone Nakarawa, Niko Matawalu, Ruaridh Jackson, Sean Lamont.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Leighton Hodges, Ian Davies (both Wales)
Television Match Official: Derek Bevan (Wales)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Leinster to win: 2/5; Draw: 25/1; Glasgow Warriors to win: 9/4

Pre-Match Quotes: Leo Cullen (Leinster) – “It’s business as usual for everybody, I don’t think we’re that sentimental a bunch…every now and again maybe! Brian had a great send-off in Paris with Ireland, winning the Six Nations was such a fitting end to his international career.

“All the fellas are in really good form and trained well this week and will be keen to give him a good send-off.

“When you come to finals, it is about trying to get the performance right on the day and we’ll be looking to play our best game of the year – that’s what we do at this time of year.

“We know we’re up against a very, very good team in Glasgow, a very well coached team as well. It’s a team we have had a lot of close battles with as well.

“We know it’s going to be a big, big task. I remember back to the launch (of the league) Glasgow were the team I picked as the biggest threat, having played them in the semi-final last year I remember how good they were.

“We’ll focus on performance and the processes we need to get right and we can celebrate then. All week everyone has been very focused, we had a weekend off between now and the semi-final, it’s a long build-up so hopefully the guys are pretty well prepared.”

Gregor Townsend (Glasgow Warriors) – “Making the final is a great achievement for the club and for Scottish rugby, but this is a big opportunity for us to take that next step.

“We face a huge challenge on Saturday night as Leinster are the defending champions and have been one of the top sides in Europe for a number of years.

“The squad have trained really well this week and everyone associated with the club can’t wait to see the players perform in the final.

“It is fantastic that so many Glasgow supporters will be travelling to Dublin to get behind the team. We’ve had incredible support all season and our supporters will once again have a big role to play on Saturday.

“Moray (Low) could make his 150th appearance for the club, which is an incredible achievement, while it would also be his last in a Glasgow shirt.

“Chris (Cusiter) and Ruaridh (Jackson) are also set to play their last game for the Warriors, and have been instrumental in the progress the club has made over the past few seasons.

“We will give everything we’ve got in our quest to achieve something which no Scottish side has done before.”

Top Scorers – 2013/14 RaboDirect PRO12: Leinster – Points: Jimmy Gopperth 156; Tries: Noel Reid 7; Glasgow Warriors – Points: Finn Russell 89; Tries: Niko Matawalu 7

Pre-Match Links –

Leinster Video Tribute To Brian O’Driscoll

Leinster Video Tribute To Leo Cullen

PRO12 Final Build-Up

PRO12 Semi-Final: Leinster v Ulster Highlights

PRO12 Semi-Final: Glasgow Warriors v Munster Highlights


Saturday, May 12, 2012 – Semi-final – Leinster 19 Glasgow Warriors 15, the RDS
Friday, November 23, 2012 – Glasgow Warriors 0 Leinster 6, Scotstoun Stadium
Sunday, March 23, 2013 – Leinster 22 Glasgow Warriors 17, the RDS
Saturday, May 11, 2013 – Semi-final – Leinster 17 Glasgow Warriors 15, the RDS
Friday, September 20, 2013 – Glasgow Warriors 12 Leinster 6, Scotstoun Stadium
Saturday, March 1, 2014 – Leinster 28 Glasgow Warriors 25, the RDS


– Leinster are bidding to become the first side ever to retain their PRO12 crown, as they participate in a fifth straight final

– The Leinstermen have taken the title on three previous occasions, in 2001/02, 2007/08 and last season

– The province’s only defeat in the RaboDirect PRO12 since round 10 was at the Ospreys on April 11

– Leinster have lost just once in any competition at the RDS since the 2012 PRO12 final: to Ulster on March 30, 2013

– Only one Scottish side has ever been victorious at the RDS, Glasgow themselves (23-19) on September 17, 2011

– Glasgow Warriors achieved their best ever league finish this season and have reached their first final after three defeats in the previous four years at the semi-final stage

– The Scotsmen have won their last nine PRO12 encounters since their 28-25 reversal to Leinster at the RDS on March 1

– The Warriors have won only one of their last nine clashes with Leinster in all tournaments: 12-6 at Scotstoun Stadium in the PRO12 on September 20, 2013, while the Glasgow side have won just once in 19 previous trips to Dublin to face Leinster