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RaboDirect PRO12 Semi-Final Preview: Leinster v Glasgow Warriors

RaboDirect PRO12 Semi-Final Preview: Leinster v Glasgow Warriors

A play-off win for Leinster over Glasgow Warriors would see the province through to their third successive RaboDirect PRO12 final, although Joe Schmidt’s men will proceed with caution as the Scots handed their a surprise home defeat back in September.


LEINSTER (1st) v GLASGOW WARRIORS (4th), the RDS, 7.35pm (live TG4/BBC ALBA/S4C)

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

Isa Nacewa will make his 100th appearance for the province as the two sides shape up for their fifth meeting this season.

Nacewa has to date scored 358 career points for Leinster and he starts at full-back in a back-three which features Fergus McFadden, who replaces the injured Luke Fitzgerald, and David Kearney who lines up on the left wing.

Rob Kearney (back) and Brian O’Driscoll (ankle) picked up niggles in training this week and have been ruled out for this weekend’s game. The Ireland duo will be further assessed by the Leinster medical team over the coming days.

Gordon D’Arcy, capped 204 times for the province to date, partners the fit-again Eoin O’Malley at centre, with Eoin Reddan linking up at half-back with Jonathan Sexton.

Jamie Heaslip leads the team and the Naas man is named in an all-Ireland international back row alongside Shane Jennings and Sean O’Brien who makes his 70th appearance for the province.

With regular captain Leo Cullen named amongst a strong replacement bench, Devin Toner will form the second row partnership with All Black Brad Thorn.

Close to 14,000 tickets have been sold for Saturday’s game and there are tickets still available online here, the Leinster Rugby Store (Donnybrook), Spar (Donnybrook) as well as Ticketmaster outlets nationwide.

There will also be tickets on sale on the day on both Simmonscourt Road and Anglesea Road from 4pm. With a number of events taking place in and around the RDS on Saturday, supporters are advised to use public transport. Gates open at 6pm.

Meanwhile, Glasgow Warriors boss Sean Lineen has made five changes to the starting line-up that claimed a 24-3 win over Connacht in the club’s last ever match at Firhill Stadium last weekend.

There is one switch in the back-line where the experienced Chris Cusiter replaces Henry Pyrgos at scrum-half.

The other changes come in the front five – Ryan Grant, Pat MacArthur, and Mike Cusack will combine to form an all-new front row and captain Al Kellock is restored to the second row.

The Scottish side come into the play-offs without the injured quarter of Rob Dewey (shoulder), Rory Lamont (leg), Fergus Thomson (shoulder) and Ryan Wilson (knee).

LEINSTER: Isa Nacewa; Fergus McFadden, Eoin O’Malley, Gordon D’Arcy, David Kearney; Jonathan Sexton, Eoin Reddan; Cian Healy, Richardt Strauss, Mike Ross, Brad Thorn, Devin Toner, Sean O’Brien, Shane Jennings, Jamie Heaslip (capt).

Replacements: Sean Cronin, Heinke van der Merwe, Nathan White, Leo Cullen, Kevin McLaughlin, Isaac Boss, Ian Madigan, Andrew Conway.

GLASGOW WARRIORS: Stuart Hogg; Federico Aramburu, Alex Dunbar, Graeme Morrison, DTH van der Merwe; Duncan Weir, Chris Cusiter; Ryan Grant, Pat MacArthur, Mike Cusack, Richie Gray, Al Kellock (capt), Rob Harley, Chris Fusaro, John Barclay.

Replacements: Dougie Hall, Jon Welsh, Moray Low, Tom Ryder, Henry Pyrgos, Johnnie Beattie, Ruaridh Jackson, Peter Murchie.

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: John Lacey, Leo Colgan (both Ireland)
Television Match Official: Marshall Kilgore (Ireland)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Leinster to win: 1/9; Draw: 25/1; Glasgow Warriors to win: 11/2

Pre-Match Quotes: Joe Schmidt (Leinster) – “We’ll probably approach Saturday’s game in a similar way to last year. You’ve got to get some game-time under your belt, you’ve got some momentum and some rhythm so we’ll be looking to get some of that ahead of next week.

“I think fighting on two fronts (for league and European trophies) makes it harder, to be honest. Whenever you’re trying to catch two balls at the same time you can get distracted by one target or the other.

“That does make it a little bit tougher, particularly if you’ve got a few niggles and a few injuries. I think we’re in pretty good health though.

“But we separate the two competitions. For us, this week is about the PRO12. We need to try and draw a line in the sand, qualify for the PRO12 final and then next week takes care of itself.

“I think it’s been a really positive year for us. It can be as positive as you like, though, but the two games coming up will determine whether it’s successful or not.

“These trophies (the RaboDirect PRO12 Coach of the Year award) don’t mean nearly as much as the team’s performance, which we are all driven to deliver.

“It’s all about the collective and hopefully there can be a successful couple of weeks ahead for us. We would love to win both the league and the Heineken Cup, but we are existing from week to week.

“We haven’t made any ambitious statements other than hoping to be in front on the scoreboard against Glasgow on Saturday.”

Sean Lineen (Glasgow Warriors) – “We’ve picked 23 men who we firmly believe have it in them to achieve a special result for Glasgow Warriors. Once again, we’re expecting the intensity and pace of the game to be Test level, and that’s where the combined efforts of the starting side and a strong bench can really come into their own.

“It’s especially the case for the six front row guys that they’ll all have a significant role to play, and we’re in the fortunate position of having half a dozen lads who are performing to a high level, never mind the likes of Gordon Reid, Finlay Gillies and Ed Kalman who have also shown up well.

“Al Kellock and Chris Cusiter give us experience, leadership and class, but again we’re delighted to have Tom Ryder and Henry Pyrgos ready and waiting to bring their influence to bear from the bench.

“The same goes for our other substitutes, Johnnie Beattie, Ruaridh Jackson and Peter Murchie, who have all made their own contribution to our season and who we’re backing to deliver more this weekend.

“The players have trained really well all week – there’s an obvious hunger and determination there which stands us in good stead. We’re all well aware of just how tough a match this is going to be, but we’re focusing on ourselves and what we have to do to win.

“We’ve shown character, ability and tenacity to get ourselves into the semi-finals. The challenge now is to bring out those qualities in even bigger quantities to beat the best team in Europe.”

Top Scorers – 2011/12 RaboDirect PRO12: Leinster – Points: Isa Nacewa 120; Tries: Ian Madigan 7; Glasgow Warriors – Points: Duncan Weir 195; Tries: Stuart Hogg 4


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
Saturday, February 25, 2011 – Glasgow Warriors 10 Leinster 10, Firhill Stadium


– Leinster are still bidding to become the first side to achieve a European and domestic double in the same season since London Wasps did so in 2004

– The Leinstermen have now reached the play-offs for a third successive season but have not won the league title since 2008

– Glasgow Warriors are one of just two teams to have defeated Leinster in any competition since early September, doing so 23-19 at the RDS on September 17

– The Warriors have taken six of the 20 league points Leinster have conceded this season. The Scotsmen reached this stage in 2010 but lost out to the Ospreys

– Glasgow have won just once in their seven previous trips to the RDS, and have only posted one win in Ireland since December 2009