Leinster will be eager to improve their away form in this season’s RaboDirect PRO12, having won only one of their four road trips to date. But in-form Glasgow Warrriors present a tough challenge at their Scotstoun base, as the sides meet for the first time since last May’s semi-final.
RABODIRECT PRO12: Friday, November 23
GLASGOW WARRIORS (3rd) v LEINSTER (6th), Scotstoun Stadium, 7.35pm (live RTÉ Two/BBC ALBA)
Team News: The Leinster team to face the Glasgow Warriors in Friday night’s RaboDirect PRO12 tussle at Scotstoun Stadium has been named.
Sean O’Brien, fully recovered from his hip surgery, will make his first appearance of the season in the number 8 jersey.
For his 72nd Leinster senior cap, O’Brien starts in an all-Ireland international back row alongside Shane Jennings and Kevin McLaughlin.
With a number of players on international duty this weekend, including Heinke van der Merwe who is away with the Springboks, there is a mix of youth and experience to the province’s line-up as well as several returning players from injury.
Amongst the players coming back from injury is Isa Nacewa who is named at full-back, with Ian Madigan starting at out-half in his 60th competitive appearance for the province.
Leo Cullen leads the team and will be partnered in the second row by South African Quinn Roux, while Aaron Dundon makes his first appearance at hooker since picking up an injury in the opening round of the league campaign.
The European kingpins’ replacements bench includes a panel of Academy graduates, amongst them Ireland second row Devin Toner.
Meanwhile, Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend is able to bring a number of players back to the front line with hooker Pat McArthur, prop Moray Low and winger DTH van der Merwe all returning from injury.
Townsend is also able to call on the bulk of the players who were called up for international duty over the last two weeks with Peter Murchie, Tommy Seymour, Alex Dunbar, Tom Ryder and Ruaridh Jackson all starting for the Warriors.
With Henry Pyrgos and Niko Matawalu playing for Scotland and Fiji respectively this weekend, and Chris Cusiter and Murray McConnell not match fit, Elite Development scrum half Sean Kennedy will start for the first time, partnering Jackson at half-back.
As all of Glasgow’s other scrum halves are unavailable for selection, Gala’s George Graham has been training with the squad this week and will take his place on the bench for the visit of Joe Schmidt’s side.
In a late change, Gordon Reid’s call-up to the Scotland squad means that Tongan front rower Ofa Fainga’anuku will now start for the Warriors on the tighthead side of the scrum.
GLASGOW WARRIORS: Peter Murchie; Tommy Seymour, Alex Dunbar, Peter Horne, DTH van der Merwe; Ruaridh Jackson, Sean Kennedy; Ofa Fainga’anuku, Pat MacArthur, Mike Cusack, Tim Swinson, Tom Ryder, Rob Harley, Chris Fusaro (capt), Josh Strauss.
Replacements: Finlay Gillies, George Hunter, Moray Low, James Eddie, Ryan Wilson, George Graham, Scott Wight, Byron McGuigan.
LEINSTER: Isa Nacewa; David Kearney, Brendan Macken, Andrew Goodman, Fionn Carr; Ian Madigan, Isaac Boss; Jack McGrath, Aaron Dundon, Jamie Hagan, Leo Cullen (capt), Quinn Roux, Kevin McLaughlin, Shane Jennings, Sean O’Brien.
Replacements: Tom Sexton, Jack O’Connell, Martin Moore, Devin Toner, Jordi Murphy, John Cooney, Noel Reid, Andrew Conway.
Referee: Neil Hennessy (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Andy Macpherson, Bob Nevins (both Scotland)
Television Match Official: Andy Ireland (Scotland)
Match Odds (Paddy Power): Glasgow Warriors to win: 4/5; Draw: 20/1; Leinster to win: 11/10
Pre-Match Quotes: Andrew Goodman (Leinster) – “It will be my first time there (in Glasgow), so it will be a new experience. But we’re all keen to get back to winning ways, get some points and get back up the RaboDirect PRO12 table.
“The boys are really looking forward to the challenge against Glasgow, they’ve been going really well so it’s going to be tough for us.
“I”m loving it here at Leinster, all the boys are really good. They help me out a lot, it’s a great set-up here.
“The facilities are awesome and I’m loving my time here so far. It was great to get a couple of days off (during the break in league matches), the boys have had a pretty full-on season so it was nice to refresh.”
Gregor Townsend (Glasgow Warriors) – “It’s certainly unusual to have all our four scrum halves unavailable at the same time but I’ve been very impressed with Sean (Kennedy) since he joined us.
“His work ethic and attitude in training are excellent and, even with those other players available, he would be pushing for a starting place.
“George (Graham) has come in and been very professional in his approach to training. It’s a great experience for him as he has impressed a lot of people this year with his performances for Gala.
“In our last game here at Scotstoun (against the Dragons) we kept up our winning run through some ambitious attacking play allied to strong defence, and that was a great way to enter the international break.
“But we know as we enter the middle third of the season that it’s going to get much tougher, starting with Leinster. They are an exceptionally good side and will be desperate to close the gap in the table to the top four.”
Top Scorers – 2012/13 RaboDirect PRO12: Glasgow Warriors – Points: Tommy Seymour, DTH van der Merwe 25 each; Tries: Tommy Seymour, DTH van der Merwe 5 each; Leinster – Points: Jonathan Sexton 55; Tries: Brendan Macken, Ian Madigan 3 each
RECENT LEAGUE MEETINGS:
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
Saturday, February 25, 2011 – Glasgow Warriors 10 Leinster 10, Firhill Stadium
Saturday, May 12, 2012 – Semi-final – Leinster 19 Glasgow Warriors 15, the RDS
– Glasgow Warriors are going for a new Warriors record in the history of the league – seven successive wins
– However, Glasgow’s only wins in their last nine encounters with Irish provinces have both been against Connacht
– Leinster’s four-match winning run in all competitions ended at the Ospreys in round 8 of the RaboDirect PRO12
– The Leinstermen have not been defeated by a team from Scotland since Glasgow won 23-19 at the RDS in September 2011
– The Warriors have lost just once at home to Leinster since 2007, going down 23-16 in the Heineken Cup pool stages at Firhill Stadium last January