Need to Know: Glasgow Warriors v Leinster, PRO14 Final 2018/19

KO 6.30 at Parkhead
Saturday 25th May

Live on Premier Sports 1 *

  • This will be the 46th occasion that these two teams have met. Glasgow have won 14, Leinster 29 and there have been 2 draws.
  • Nigel Owens referees an encounter between these sides for the 10th time, the first of which was more than 15 years ago.
  • The Warriors have yet to defeat Leinster in a knock-out match (5 previous games).
  • Leinster haven’t won a game outside Dublin since they beat Zebre in Italy on the 16th of February.
  • 13 of the visitors’ XV started their Champions Cup final defeat to Saracens two weeks ago.
  • Dave Rennie has selected the same starting XV for consecutive matches for the first time as Warriors’ head coach.

15 Stuart Hogg
14 Tommy Seymour
13 Kyle Steyn
12 Sam Johnson
11 DTH van der Merwe
10 Adam Hastings
9 Ali Price
ADV Glasgow
ADV Glasgow
ADV Leinster
ADV Glasgow
ADV Leinster
ADV Leinster
ADV Glasgow
15 Rob Kearney
14 Jordan Larmour
13 Garry Ringrose
12 Robbie Henshaw
11 James Lowe
10 Johnny Sexton (c)
9 Luke McGrath

1 Jamie Bhatti
2 Fraser Brown
3 Zander Fagerson
4 Scott Cummings
5 Jonny Gray
6 Robert Harley
7 Callum Gibbins (c)
8 Matt Fagerson
ADV Leinster
ADV Glasgow
ADV Leinster
ADV Leinster
ADV Leinster
ADV Leinster
ADV Glasgow

1 Cian Healy
2 Sean Cronin
3 Tadhg Furlong
4 Scott Fardy
5 James Ryan
6 Rhys Ruddock
7 Josh van der Flier
8 Jack Conan

16 Grant Stewart
17 Oli Kebble
18 Siosiua Halanukonuka
19 Ryan Wilson
20 Tom Gordon
21 George Horne
22 Peter Horne
23 Huw Jones
ADV Leinster
ADV Glasgow
ADV Leinster
ADV Glasgow
ADV Leinster
ADV Glasgow
ADV Glasgow

16 Bryan Byrne
17 Ed Byrne
18 Andrew Porter
19 Ross Molony
20 Max Deegan
21 Nick McCarthy
22 Ross Byrne
23 Rory O’Loughlin

Tale of the Tape:

154   Tries   150
532   Appearances   647
27.3   Average age   27.5
6   Capped players   6

904kg   Pack weight   887kg
666   Appearances   874
25.9   Average age   27.6
6   Capped players   8

52   Tries   64
460   Appearances   429
26.9   Average age   24.5
5   Capped players   3

Changes from the semi-finals

Devin Toner misses out through injury for Leinster and his replacement Scott Fardy is one of just three changes to the starting XVs – all of them for the visitors. Johnny Sexton and Rob Kearney return for the defending champions in the 10 and 15 shirts respectively. Ross Byrne and Dave Kearney are the players to miss out.

Dave Rennie has been very consistent in his selections over the past 2 months so the unchanged XV this time round is unsurprising. This will be the fifth game on the bounce for 10 of his starters (it would have been 11 but for Jonny Gray ‘going at both ends’ and being a late withdrawal from the Edinburgh game).

Glasgow Greetings:

15 of the Warriors’ 23 have never experienced a Grand Final before. Of the 8 men that have previously been in this position Tommy Seymour, Jonny Gray and Robert Harley will be the only ones to start all three of Glasgow’s finals.

Matt Fagerson will be the second youngest player to feature in a championship match for the Warriors. The top 5 are:

  1. Jonny Gray – 20 yrs & 78 days (2013/14)
  2. Matt Fagerson – 20 yrs & 313 days (2018/19)
  3. Jonny Gray – 21 yrs & 77 days (2014/15)
  4. Finn Russell – 21 yrs & 250 days (2013/14)
  5. Scott Cummings – 22 yrs & 173 days (2018/19) *

* Scott will be overtaken by Tom Gordon (22 yrs & 115 days) if/when the flanker makes it off the bench.

Matchday Milestones:

Zander Fagerson will make his 50th start for the Warriors. Still just a baby in propping terms the big man just keeps on getting better.

In the last 15 years the only players to manage 28 games in a season for Glasgow are Rob Harley (2013/14) and Niko Matawalu (2014/15). Rob will bring up that tally for a second time when he turns out on Saturday having only missed 2 of Glasgow’s 30 matches in the current campaign. In fact it’s more than 6 months since the club last played a fixture without Big Bad Bob, when he was rested for the home game against Scarlets. He’ll be making his 13th consecutive start – the most by any Warrior this season.

Among the backs Kyle Steyn will start for the 10th time in a row. No other Glasgow back has managed more than 6 matches on the spin during 2018/19. The former Griquas player has had an astonishing opening to his time at the Warriors after initially being brought in to provide cover during the Six Nations window. Indispensable since his debut, the man who is still contracted to Scotland 7s has yet to lose a PRO14 game in his Glasgow career.

Warrior to Watch:

This has already been big season for Scott Cummings and if he can perform to the level he’s shown in the last couple of months it could get even bigger. After a slow start to the campaign due to injury he grabbed his chance and has only missed a single game since the turn of the year, becoming one of the first names on Dave Rennie’s teamsheets.

Scott is an all-round operator in the second row. His lineout work has always been exemplary but it’s the increased intensity and focus in his tackling and carrying that has really caught the eye in recent matches. Picking great lines to get the Warriors on the front foot and stopping the opposition in their tracks when they have possession is pretty much everything you could want from a young lock at this stage of his career.

Glasgow v Leinster – recent history:

Most recent meetings in Glasgow:

  • 06/09/14: Glasgow 22 – 20 Leinster (PRO12)
  • 18/03/16: Glasgow 12 – 6 Leinster (PRO12)
  • 10/09/16: Glasgow 33 – 25 Leinster (PRO12)
  • 21/10/17: Glasgow 18 – 34 Leinster (Champions Cup)
  • 03/11/17: Glasgow 31 -21 Leinster (PRO14)

Most recent match-up:


Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU, 180th competition game)
AR1: John Lacey (IRFU)
AR2: Mike Adamson (SRU)
TMO: Ian Davies (WRU)

Mr. Owens’ regular season record for 2018/19 in the PRO14:

Matches – 12 (all refs – 147)
Average penalty count – 13.8 per game (all refs – 18.4)
Home penalty percentage – 57% (all refs – 52%)
Average card count – 0.4 per game (all refs – 0.9)
Penalties per card – 33 (all refs – 19)

Of the 22 men and women who refereed in the PRO14 this season none awarded fewer penalties or cards per game than Nigel Owens. The Welsh whistler’s modus operandi has always been clear – to keep the action flowing with the intention of leaving it up to the players, as much as possible, to influence what type of match it will be. Combined with the positive intent of both these sides this could well make for a cracking final. With so much leeway on offer though there are still opportunities for skullduggery, particularly with a laissez faire attitude at the breakdown.

As things stand this looks like it will be the last time that Mr. Owens takes charge of a Warriors’ match. It’s almost 19 years since he had to abandon at half-time due to torrential rain the very first Glasgow game he officiated. Since then Mynyddcerrig’s finest has risen to the very top of rugby refereeing and has taken charge of every showpiece match the game has to offer. If this is his last appearance in a Warriors’ fixture then thanks for the memories Nigel and for persisting with what can often be a pretty thankless job!

* Other coverage:

Match re-run on FreeSports:

  • Monday 27th May at 11.00pm
  • Tuesday 28th May at 12.00pm

For head to heads of some key stats for Glasgow and Leinster click here.

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