Need to Know: Leinster v Glasgow Match Preview

KO 7.45 at RDS Arena, Friday 23rd October
Live on Sky Sports

Team Talk
Glasgow are starting to work their way back to full strength with 8 of the 21 World Cup Warriors in the match day 23. Fraser Lyle, Bob Harley and Scott Cummings are the only players to start of all of the opening 5 matches of the season. Leinster bring back 4 players who were involved in Ireland’s RWC squad – although only Tadhg Furlong was in the original panel with McCarthy, Ruddock and Boss being late injury call ups after the France game (Boss’ tournament lasted all of 2 days…)


15 Isa Nacewa (c)
14 Garry Ringrose
13 Ben Te’o
12 Noel Reid
11 Fergus McFadden
10 Cathal Marsh
9 Luke McGrath
1 Michael Bent
2 Aaron Dundon
3 Marty Moore
4 Ross Molony
5 Mike McCarthy
6 Rhys Ruddock
7 Josh van der Flier
8 Jack Conan
15 Sean Lamont
14 Taqele Naiyarovoro
13 Richie Vernon
12 Fraser Lyle
11 Rory Hughes
10 Duncan Weir
9 Mike Blair
1 Alex Allan
2 Pat MacArthur
3 Zander Fagerson
4 Tim Swinson
5 Scott Cummings
6 Rob Harley (c)
7 Simone Favaro
8 Ryan Wilson

16 James Tracy
17 Peter Dooley
18 Tadhg Furlong
19 Dominic Ryan
20 Daniel Leavy
21 Isaac Boss
22 Ross Byrne
23 Cian Kelleher

16 Kevin Bryce
17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa
18 Mike Cusack
19 Greg Peterson
20 Adam Ashe
21 Hugh Blake
22 Grayson Hart
23 Rory Clegg

Glasgow Greetings:
This will be the first game this season with no player making their Warriors’ debut although there is a first start for Simone Favaro after taking his bow (however briefly!) off the bench last week.

Matchday Milestones:
Henry Pyrgos will need to wait another week to play his 100th game for Glasgow and join the ranks of the Warriors Centurions. In his 121st game for the club, Rob Harley draws level with James Eddie as the players with the most appearances in the current squad.

Warriors One to Watch:
Games at the RDS between Leinster and Glasgow have been tight affairs in recent seasons and for that reason a cool head and a bit of experience at scrum half could be crucial. Mike Blair was brought in ostensibly to help develop the Warriors’ young 9s but he’s shown he’s lost none of his ability to provide some control and direction in a game – and he still has an eye for a gap or a scoring opportunity too.

Head to Head:
Back 3 – EVEN
Centres – ADV Leinster
Half Backs – ADV Glasgow
Front Row – ADV Leinster
Second Row – ADV Glasgow
Back Row – EVEN
Subs – ADV Glasgow

Toonie’s Track Record…
…against Leinster:

  • League play – 2 wins, 1 draw and 3 losses. 1 Try BP, 3 Losing BPs. 14 points in total.
  • Playoffs – no wins and 2 losses.
  • Leinster are the only side in the Pro 12 that Gregor Townsend has a losing record against.
  • Last season’s draw was the first time Toonie’s men have avoided defeat at the RDS but they have taken at least a point from each regular season visit.

Last season’s match-up:

The yellow card issued to Niko in last season’s fixture was his 3rd of the season – the most of any Glasgow player in the last campaign. He also conceded 3 of the Warriors 10 penalties in the game and did not seem to endear himself to Mr. Owens…Discipline will be crucial as that kind of sloppiness helped to let Leinster back into the game last time out.

Points booted by Peter Horne and Mark Bennett as they went 100% (6 from 6) from the kicking tee. With an average margin of just 3 points between the two teams in the last 5 fixtures at the RDS (excluding the Grand Final shellacking) it’s essential that Glasgow take every opportunity given to them and don’t leave any points on the field.

Tackles made by Tim Swinson (with none missed) – the second highest for a Glasgow player last season behind Jonny Gray’s 26 against Connacht at the Sportsground. The Warriors will need someone in the pack to step up to this level, lead the defence and put their body on the line if they are to come away with anything.

Metres run by DTH van der Merwe – his season high, as he repeatedly cut through the Leinster defence. Glasgow will be taking a more direct approach this season with Taqele Naiyarovoro but will be hoping for a similar return.

Tackles attempted by both sides – 53 of which were missed! This may go some way to explaining why so many tries were scored…

Home and Away:
Leinster have won 41 of their last 45 games at the RDS. Only Ospreys (twice), Ulster and (slightly oddly) Dragons have managed to breach the fortress in that time.

Glasgow have only won in Dublin once in the Pro 12 (and they were on top of the moon when they did it!) The Warriors only have one win in their last 5 away fixtures.

Referee: Ian Davies (WRU, 36th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Leo Colgan, Olly Hodges (both IRFU)
Citing Commissioner: Eugene Ryan (IRFU)
TMO: Dermot Moloney (IRFU)

Mr. Davies has refereed Glasgow on five occasions in the previous two seasons with the Warriors doing ok in the crime count – he’s awarded an average of 9.2 penalties against the boys in black and blue and 13.0 in their favour. The total penalty count is above average for that period but his cards issued in games involving Glasgow are below average. This suggests that he may well not be looking out so much for repeated infringements but more for one-off professional fouls or dangerous/violent play – although as Zander Fagerson can testify he didn’t hesitate to card a prop after repeated scrum infringements against Connacht earlier this season.

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