Need to Know: Glasgow v Leinster Match Preview

KO 3.00 at Scotstoun Stadium, Saturday 10th September
Buy tickets here
Live on Sky Sports 3

Team Talk
Given the number of players unavailable last time these two sides met it’s unsurprising there have been some pretty big changes to the matchday 23s. Leinster call on 15 of the squad who lost at Scotstoun back in March. Glasgow are transformed with just 9 players returning from The Miracle on Mud.

Toony’s Tombola does seem to have seized up somewhat though – 20 of the players who featured against Connacht last week are selected again. With 2 of the changes being injury-enforced this minimal tinkering suggest the Warrior’s head coach is targeting a fast start to the season even in the face of some tough early fixtures.


15 Stuart Hogg
14 Leonardo Sarto
13 Alex Dunbar
12 Sam Johnson
11 Tommy Seymour
10 Peter Horne
9 Henry Pyrgos (c)
15 Rob Kearney
14 Fergus McFadden
13 Garry Ringrose
12 Noel Reid
11 Dave Kearney
10 Joey Carbery
9 Luke McGrath (c)

1 Gordon Reid
2 Fraser Brown
3 Sila Puafisi
4 Tim Swinson
5 Jonny Gray (c)
6 Rob Harley
7 Simone Favaro
8 Ryan Wilson

1 Cian Healy
2 James Tracy
3 Michael Bent
4 Mike McCarthy
5 Ross Molony
6 Dan Leavy
7 Josh van der Flier
8 Jordi Murphy

16 Corey Flynn
17 Alex Allan
18 Zander Fagerson
19 Tjiuee Uanivi
20 Lewis Wynne
21 Ali Price
22 Rory Clegg
23 Lee Jones

16 Bryan Byrne
17 Peter Dooley
18 Tadhg Furlong
19 Mick Kearney
20 Dominic Ryan
21 Jamison Gibson Park
22 Cathal Marsh
23 Zane Kirchner

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

Glasgow Greetings:
Even setting aside the new pitch it will be home debuts galore with Leonardo starto-ing the match (No good? Please yourself…) and Corey Flynn, Tjiuee Uanivi and academy player Lewis Wynne almost certain to feature at some stage off the bench. There’s also a welcome back of sorts for Alex Allan who hasn’t played at Scotstoun for over 10 months.

Matchday Milestones:
It’s start number 75 for Alex Dunbar who will be a key figure in the midfield battle.

Warriors One to Watch:
He’s a man with the potential to become the new darling of the Scotstoun faithful and Leonardo Sarto has certainly looked the part in his early appearances for the Warriors. Hungry for work and to get himself involved in the game as much as possible his style of play already looks like being an ideal fit with the Glasgow backline. The sort of creative thinking shown in attack against Connacht, allied to the 3G surface, should mean plenty of opportunities for the back 3 to get ball in hand. Leo’s combination of power and pace should mean he has to be viewed by the Leinster defence as just as much of a threat as Tommy Seymour and Stuart Hogg.

Toony’s Track Record…

…against Leinster:

  • League play – 3 wins, 1 draw and 4 losses. 1 Try BP, 4 Losing BPs. 19 points in total.
  • Playoffs – no wins and 3 losses.
  • Townsend’s men have only collected 48% of the league points available against Leinster – but they have won their last 3 at home against the men from D4.

Last season’s match-up:

Minutes played on the wing by Grayson Hart. After spending most of the week preparing to play stand off, Grayson was reprieved by the last minute deal to re-sign Rory Clegg. But having started the game at scrum half a spate of injuries meant the former Edinburgh man was pressed into service out wide where he defended well and helped contain Leinster’s all international back 3. Even if the circumstances aren’t as challenging Glasgow must still be adaptable.

Metres made by Leone Nakarawa – the most of any player on the pitch. It would be impossible to talk about this game without referencing Leone. In addition to his carries he had the most tackles made (equal with Simone Favaro and Fraser Brown), he turned over ball (including the crucial steal in the Glasgow 22 with just minutes left on the clock), captained the side in the second half and, all in all, was a worthy man of the match. It takes a special kind of performance to subdue Leinster.

Percentage of kicks made by Rory Clegg. There isn’t much in the stats to suggest Glasgow would emerge victorious – Leinster made more passes, gained more ground, forced the Warriors to make (and miss) far more tackles. But still somehow the home side found a way to win. There was a refusal to be beaten but even at that it could still all have come to naught if it wasn’t for the kicking of the man who hadn’t played competitive match for 2 months. Even with all the anticipation for running rugby and tries on the new pitch it’s essential Glasgow nail their kicks.

Home and Away:
Glasgow last 5 (H) – W W W W W
Leinster last 5 (A) – W W L L L

Referee: John Lacey (IRFU, 55th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Dan Jones (WRU), Dunx McClement (SRU)
Citing Commissioner: John Montgomery (SRU)
TMO: Gareth Simmonds (WRU)

‘Fast’ Johnny Lacey was the man in the middle for 3 Warriors’ games last season. An overall penalty count in Glasgow’s favour and an even split of 1 yellow card for and against mark Mr. Lacey out as somewhat unusual among Pro 12 officials. In his last appearance at Scotstoun he did still manage to raise the ire of the home crowd despite awarding 13 penalties against the visitors Ulster and and only pinging the Warriors 4 times (although he did yellow card Stuart Hogg just a day after he had been named 6 Nations player of the season!)

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