Need to Know: Glasgow v Leinster Match Preview

KO 3.00 at Sold Out Scotstoun Stadium, Saturday 5th December
Live on Sky Sports

Team Talk
Gregor Townsend rings up 10 changes as he again shuffles his pack in particular – only captain Jonny Gray and Adam Ashe remain from the 8 that started against Treviso. Rob Harley is on the bench this week but is still the only player to be selected for all 10 of Glasgow’s fixtures so far this season. Leinster themselves make 8 changes with players of the quality of Sexton, McGrath (x2), Toner, Heaslip and SOB missing from their line-up. Watch out for Garry Ringrose off the bench – a classy and very dangerous runner ball in hand.


15 Stuart Hogg
14 Taqele Naiyarovoro
13 Alex Dunbar
12 Peter Horne
11 Tommy Seymour
10 Duncan Weir
9 Mike Blair
15 Rob Kearney
14 Zane Kirchner
13 Ben Te’o
12 Luke Fitzgerald
11 Dave Kearney
10 Ian Madigan
9 Eoin Reddan

1 Ryan Grant
2 James Malcolm
3 Sila Puafisi
4 Leone Nakarawa
5 Jonny Gray (c)
6 Josh Strauss
7 Simone Favaro
8 Adam Ashe

1 Cian Healy
2 Richardt Strauss
3 Marty Moore
4 Tom Denton
5 Mike McCarthy
6 Rhys Ruddock (c)
7 Josh van der Flier
8 Jordi Murphy

16 Shalva Mamukashvili
17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa
18 Zander Ragnar Fagerson
19 Tim Swinson
20 Rob Harley
21 Ali Price
22 Finn Russell
23 Sean Lamont

16 Sean Cronin
17 Peter Dooley
18 Tadhg Furlong
19 Ross Molony
20 Dominic Ryan
21 Isaac Boss
22 Cathal Marsh
23 Garry Ringrose

Glasgow Greetings:
James Malcolm makes his first start for the Warriors, the 14th player to do so this season.

Matchday Milestones:
Leone Nakarawa plays his 50th game for the club – in which time he’s made 164 offloads!

Warriors One to Watch:
With Duncan Weir likely to play a more controlled game than his rival for the 10 shirt, Finn Russell, increased responsibility for creativity and getting the backline moving is likely to fall on inside centre, Peter Horne. Starting alongside Alex Dunbar for the first time in 11 months should give Pete the confidence to take the ball to the line knowing he has an outlet if the defensive pressure comes on.

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

Toony’s Track Record…
…against Leinster:

  • League play – 2 wins, 1 draw and 4 losses. 1 Try BP, 4 Losing BPs. 15 points in total.
  • Playoffs – no wins and 2 losses.
  • Townsend’s men have only collected 43% of the league points available against Leinster. This is the same as Munster but not Glasgow’s weakest record – that ‘honour’ goes to the Scarlets against whom the Warriors have only taken 40% of the points on offer.

Last season’s match-up:

Tackles missed by Jonny Gray – a collector’s item given he only missed 2 more across the rest of the season!

Points Glasgow lead by at half time after a whirlwind first period. They then conceded 17 unanswered points, nearly letting the win slip away before rescuing it with the last kick of the game. An 80 minute performance is needed (and no more slow starts!)

Times Leinster kicked the ball away –  3 times as often as Glasgow. They may be all about the Leinstertainment but there is also plenty of pragmatism from the Dubliners when that is what’s needed.

Defenders beaten by the Warriors (or tackles missed by Leinster if you prefer) – the highest of last season. The men from D4 struggled to contain a Glasgow side that kept the ball in hand as much as possible forcing 209 tackles to be made (also a season high). Unfortunately given the weather forecast a similar feast of running rugby is unlikely this Saturday.

Metres run from 14 carries by Josh Strauss – top performer across the whole team, even ahead of the back 3 and the easy yards they pick up! The Warriors will need a similar level of performance from the Beard to be Feared at the weekend.

Home and Away:
Glasgow have won 32 of their last 35 Pro 12 games at Scotstoun. Leinster have managed just a single Pro 12 victory in Glasgow in the last 9 seasons. The Dublin-based side have only won 2 out of their last 8 away trips in the league.

Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU, 129th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Lloyd Linton, Dunx McClement (both SRU)
Citing Commissioner: Paul Minto (SRU)
TMO: Jim Yuille (SRU)

This will be the 12th time Mr. Owens has refereed the Warriors during Toony’s tenure but it will be only the 3rd trip to Scotstoun for the Welsh whistler.  His refereeing style could best be described as laissez faire and he wants the game to flow – across the last 2 seasons of Glasgow games no-one has awarded fewer penalties or yellow cards than Mr. Owens. The Warriors do seem to have some issues adapting to his officiating interpretations though and have only ‘won’ the penalty count once in recent times – the Grand Final against Leinster in 2013/14 (and a fat lot of good it did them that day!)

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