Need to Know: Glasgow v Leinster Match Preview

KO 7.35 at Sold Out Scotstoun Stadium, Friday 18th March
Live on Sky

Team Talk
15 of the players listed for the original fixture in December will be on international duty this weekend instead of at Scotstoun (10 Warriors and 5 Leinsterers) and in total the 2 sides provide no less than 22 of the players for that other Ireland v Scotland clash. While this match may be lacking a little bit of cache due these elite absentees, games between these 2 sides are rarely dull and those on duty on Friday night are still more than capable of entertaining a full house in Glasgow’s West End.

Teams

GLASGOW WARRIORS
15 Peter Murchie (c)
14 Lee Jones
13 Mark Bennett
12 Sam Johnson
11 Rory Hughes
10 Rory Clegg
9 Grayson Hart
LEINSTER
15 Zane Kirchner
14 Isa Nacewa (c)
13 Garry Ringrose
12 Ben Te’o
11 Dave Kearney
10 Cathal Marsh
9 Luke McGrath

1 Gordon Reid
2 Fraser Brown
3 Sila Puafisi
4 Greg Peterson
5 Leone Nakarawa
6 James Eddie
7 Simone Favaro
8 Adam Ashe

1 Peter Dooley
2 James Tracy
3 Tadhg Furlong
4 Mick Kearney
5 Hayden Triggs
6 Dominic Ryan
7 Dan Leavy
8 Jordi Murphy

16 James Malcolm
17 J Yanuyanutawa
18 Zander Fagerson
19 Scott Cummings
20 Tyrone Holmes
21 Ali Price
22 Nick Grigg
23 Glenn Bryce

16 Bryan Byrne
17 Jeremy Loughman
18 Michael Bent
19 Ross Molony
20 Peadar Timmins
21 Nick McCarthy
22 Joey Carbery
23 Noel Reid

Glasgow Greetings:
Nick Grigg could become Warrior number 56 for the season and the 19th player to make his debut for the club in this campaign. There’s also a welcome back for Rory Clegg and Tyrone Holmes who, for differing reasons, haven’t run out for Glasgow since October. Coincidentally Rory’s last game was also against Leinster!

Matchday Milestones:
This will be the 125th game of James Eddie’s long association with Glasgow and he’ll be looking to bring his usual blend of muscular carrying, strong defence and leadership to one of the more inexperienced Warriors sides that have turned out this season.

Warriors One to Watch:
For all that Glasgow have been depleted by Scotland call-ups they can still call on 5 of their first choice pack and winning the battle up front may be key to coming away with a precious victory. Among the forwards the key figure is likely to be Leone Nakarawa. This is likely to be the big Fijian’s last season with the Warriors and he will want to go out on a high. Coach Gregor Townsend won’t want to restrict Leone’s natural game but there are likely to have been some discussions about making good decisions on when to play it loose and when to just recycle the ball. If Naka gets this balance right he’ll provide a lead for the rest of the pack to follow.

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

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 3 losses.
  • Townsend’s men have only collected 43% of the league points available against Leinster. This is 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:

16
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 overdue!)

20
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.

31
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). Starving a dangerous Leinster backline of possession seems a sensible tactic for this season’s matchup as well.

Home and Away:
Glasgow have won 25 out of their last 26 Pro 12 games at Scotstoun and need to continue to keep their home ground as a fortress if there is to be any chance of a playoff spot. Leinster have the best away record in the league – but with visits to Scotstoun, the Sportsground and the Kingspan in the closing weeks of the season this form will be sorely tested.

Officials:
Referee: George Clancy (IRFU, 78th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Lloyd Linton, Mike Adamson (both SRU)
Citing Commissioner: Douglas Hunter (SRU)
TMO: Jim Yuille (SRU)

This will be Mr. Clancy’s 6th trip to Scotstoun in the last 15 months – by far the most of any official. In total he has officiated 10 Warriors’ fixtures in the past 3 seasons with Glasgow emerging victorious on 8 occasions. He has one of the lowest rates for penalties awarded and cards issued among Pro 12 referees but he can be extremely pedantic and fussy and frequently finds free kick offences to award . This means that unlike say Nigel Owens (who also awards a similarly low level of pens) there is no guarantee the game will be any more free-flowing than under a ref who awards 25+ penalties per game.

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