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RaboDirect PRO12 Preview: Glasgow Warriors v Leinster

RaboDirect PRO12 Preview: Glasgow Warriors v Leinster

Leinster will meet Glasgow Warriors for the fourth time this season following an early season defeat at the RDS and two Heineken Cup pool ties. The current RaboDirect PRO12 leaders will be hoping to gain revenge for that round 3 loss back in September.

RABODIRECT PRO12: Saturday, February 25

GLASGOW WARRIORS (5th) v LEINSTER (1st), Firhill Stadium, 6pm (live TG4/BBC ALBA)

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Team News: The Leinster team to face the Glasgow Warriors in Saturday evening’s RaboDirect PRO12 clash at Firhill Stadium has been named.

Isa Nacewa, who has now scored 105 points in 12 RaboDirect PRO12 games so far this season, continues in the back-three alongside Fionn Carr and David Kearney.

With Fergus McFadden on international duty and Eoin O’Malley on the replacements bench, Brendan Macken will resume his centre partnership with recent debutants Colm O’Shea who started the 42-8 victory over Benetton Treviso two weeks ago.

At half-back, Ireland international Isaac Boss again partners Ian Madigan who is the league’s second top try scorer this season with six touchdowns.

Meanwhile, there are six further changes in the forwards including a completely new front row of Heinke van der Merwe, Richardt Strauss and Nathan White.

Mullingar’s Mark Flanagan is set to earn his sixth Leinster cap when he lines up alongside Damian Browne in the second row.

Shane Jennings leads the team from openside flanker and is joined in the back row by Dominic Ryan and Leo Auva’a, who both featured as second half replacements in last weekend’s 16-13 home win over the Scarlets.

The fit-again Andrew Conway takes his place amongst a replacements bench which also includes the likes of O’Malley and Devin Toner.

Meanwhile, Glasgow Warriors’ starting line-up for the game shows four changes to the side which ran out against Connacht in Galway six days ago.

One of the switches is enforced, Alex Dunbar taking the place of Graeme Morrison, who starts for Scotland in Sunday’s RBS 6 Nations Championship game against France at Murrayfield.

Dunbar will play at outside centre, with Troy Nathan moving to inside centre. Elsewhere in the backs division, Colin Shaw comes onto the left wing in place of Tommy Seymour, who will be among the replacements.

There are a further two changes in the front five, where tighthead prop Mike Cusack makes his first appearance since injuring an ankle in the New Year’s Day victory over Edinburgh, and Nick Campbell comes in at lock in place of Rob Verbakel.

The 22-year-old Scottish Rugby Elite Development player scored a try in the 23-19 triumph over Leinster at the RDS five months ago and recovered from a recent knee injury to take a place on the bench for the recent home win over the Scarlets.

With Al Kellock and Morrison both on international duty, the team will be captained by flanker Rob Harley, who skippered them to success for that Dublin success back in September.

GLASGOW WARRIORS: Peter Murchie; David Lemi, Alex Dunbar, Troy Nathan, Colin Shaw; Ruaridh Jackson, Henry Pyrgos; Ryan Grant, Pat MacArthur, Mike Cusack, Nick Campbell, Tom Ryder, Rob Harley (capt), Chris Fusaro, Ryan Wilson.

Replacements: Dougie Hall, Jon Welsh, Gordon Reid, Rob Verbakel, Calum Forrester, Scott Wight, Federico Aramburu, Tommy Seymour.

LEINSTER: Isa Nacewa; David Kearney, Brendan Macken, Colm O’Shea, Fionn Carr; Ian Madigan, Isaac Boss; Heinke van der Merwe, Richardt Strauss, Nathan White, Damian Browne, Mark Flanagan, Dominic Ryan, Shane Jennings (capt), Leo Auva’a.

Replacements: Aaron Dundon, Jack McGrath, Jamie Hagan, Devin Toner, Jordi Murphy, John Cooney, Eoin O’Malley, Andrew Conway.

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Andrew McMenemy, Graeme Marshall (both Scotland)
Television Match Official: Jim Yuille (Scotland)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Glasgow Warriors to win: 5/4; Draw: 20/1; Leinster to win: 4/6

Pre-Match Quotes: Richardt Strauss (Leinster) – “Success does breed confidence, but you can’t afford to take your eye off the ball. Not for one minute. And that’s especially in a league as competitive as this.

“I think that the guys showed a lot of guts and character to grind out the win (over the Scarlets). It was a little bit too close for comfort really and I’m sure it was pretty nerve wracking for the supporters!

“The key with being on the kind of run of victories that we are on at the moment is that you can’t dwell on what has gone before. We’re not slapping each other on the back each week and assuming that we just have to turn up and win.

“Glasgow are a tough team and even though we’ve played them twice more this season since the pain of losing our home record to them in September, it still hurts.

“They too will have a lot of changes and they were very unlucky not to get the win but still got two points over in Connacht last weekend, which we know from experience is not easily achieved.

“The culture that we’re trying to cultivate in this squad is to remain ruthless no matter who pulls on the jersey. You could see with the way in which the lads have approached training this week that they are seriously motivated to win.

“The intent is certainly there. It’s all about applying ourselves in the manner which has got us to where we are and driving on for these last few away tests before the break in March.”

Sean Lineen (Glasgow Warriors) – “The business end of the RaboDirect PRO12 season is well and truly here now, and such is the tight nature of the table, there isn’t much margin for error.

“Three of our next four games are at home, and it’s vital we exploit that to our advantage, starting with Saturday’s match against Leinster.

“They’ve got a big squad with top players right throughout it. Their rugby is the definition of relentless and they punish every mistake.

“We know our individual decision-making has to be spot on, and our composure right up there with anything we’ve produced so far this season.

“If that happens, we should be in a good place, because our collective systems have been a real strength all year and there’s a terrific amount of trust and belief within the group.

“The players have risen to the challenge so many times already, and Saturday is another day for standing up and being counted so that we continue to stake a strong claim for a place in the top four.”

Top Scorers – 2011/12 RaboDirect PRO12: Glasgow Warriors – Points: Duncan Weir 148; Tries: Troy Nathan, Moray Low, Jon Welsh 2 each; Leinster – Points: Isa Nacewa 105; Tries: Ian Madigan 6


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
Friday, May 6, 2011 – Leinster 38 Glasgow Warriors 3, the RDS
Saturday, September 17, 2011 – Leinster 19 Glasgow Warriors 23, the RDS


– Glasgow Warriors’ only loss in their last eleven matches in the RaboDirect PRO12 was a 16-14 defeat at tthe Scarlets on January 7 (a run which now includes three draws)

– The Warriors have won seven of their last eight encounters at Firhill Stadium in all competitions

– The Leinster juggernaut keeps rolling along with a dozen successive wins and 18 matches without defeat in all competitions

– The Warriors have not won away from home since they visited Aironi on November 5

– Glasgow are one of only two sides to have beaten Leinster in any competition this season (the other being the Ospreys), doing so at the RDS in round 3 of the RaboDirect PRO12

– The Warriors have never achieved a league double over the Leinstermen in the same season