Leinster v Glasgow Warriors preview

Leinster take the first step in a pivotal couple of weeks for the Irish province as they welcome Glasgow Warriors to the RDS on Saturday night in the second RaboDirect Pro12 semi-final, kick off 7.35pm.

Despite having a Heineken Cup final against Ulster next weekend,Joe Schmidt has selected a number of front line players to take to the pitch against the Warriors.

Jamie Heaslip leads a settled and experienced back row with Sean O’Brien and Shane Jennings starting alongside Heaslip, who has come back to some of his best form at this crucial juncture of the season.

Jonny Sexton, who has had a tremendous season in the blue of Leinster , starts at 10 with Eoin Redden his partner at 9.

Despite not having Brian O’Driscoll and Rob Kearney available (both sustained knocks in training) Schmidt has been able to select an exciting back line.

Isa Nacewa makes his 100th appearance for Leinster alongside Fergus McFadden and Dave Kearney in a dangerous looking back three. Eoin O’Malley takes the 13 jersey from O’Driscoll and will start alongside the experienced Gordon D’Arcy.

Speaking ahead of the game, Schmidt states that Leinster are not looking ahead to Ulster and their sole focus is on the Warriors.

“We’ll probably approach Saturday’s game in a similar way to last year,” said Schmidt.

“You’ve got to get some game time under your belt; you’ve got some momentum and some rhythm so we’ll be looking to get some of that ahead of next week.

“I think fighting on two fronts makes it harder, to be honest. Whenever you’re trying to catch two balls at the same time you can get distracted by one target or the other. That does make it a little bit tougher, particularly if you’ve got a few niggles and a few injuries. I think we’re in pretty good health, though.

“But we separate the two competitions. For us, this week is about the PRO12. We need to try and draw a line in the sand, qualify for the PRO12 finals and then next week takes care of itself.

“I think it’s been a really positive year for us. It can be as positive as you like, though, but the two games coming up will determine whether it’s successful or not.”

Coming to Dublin and taking on the Heineken Cup champions in their own back yard will hold no fear for the Warriors. The Scottish side caused somewhat of an upset back in September when they beat Leinster 23-19.

Two defeats in the pool stages of the Heineken Cup may have dented confidence but had coach Sean Lineen, who has made five changes to his starting 15, believes that his side can get a result on Saturday night.

“We’ve shown great consistency and character to reach the semi-finals, but this is where the hard work really begins.

“We’re not satisfied just to be in the play-offs; we’re absolutely determined to keep our run going, and that means finding a way to beat a side who are the benchmark for every other team in Europe.

“Leinster’s record in both the RaboDirect PRO12 and Heineken Cup these past few years speaks for itself, and you only need to look at the statistics to see how hard it is to beat them.

“But we have confidence in ourselves, our game plan and each other and while we have huge respect for Leinster, we won’t be standing back and admiring them.

“To win, we need every player to be better than they’ve ever been before. That’s a big ask, but it’s what it will take, and we’ve every confidence the players will deliver. They’ve risen to every challenge we’ve put in front of them this season, and this is undoubtedly the biggest yet.”

While it promises to be a hugely physical encounter, Leinster are selected to get the win on Saturday night and book themselves into another final ahead of the clash with Ulster next weekend.

Predication Leinster


15: Isa Nacewa
14: Fergus McFadden
13: Eoin O’Malley
12: Gordon D’Arcy
11: David Kearney
10: Jonathan Sexton
9: Eoin Reddan

1: Cian Healy
2: Richardt Strauss
3: Mike Ross
4: Brad Thorn
5: Devin Toner
6: Sean O’Brien
7: Shane Jennings
8: Jamie Heaslip CAPTAIN


16: Sean Cronin
17: Heinke van der Merwe
18: Nathan White
19: Leo Cullen
20: Kevin McLaughlin
21: Isaac Boss
22: Ian Madigan
23: Andrew Conway


15: Stuart Hogg
14: Federico Aramburu
13: Alex Dunbar
12: Graeme Morrison
11: DTH van der Merwe
10: Duncan Weir
9: Chris Cusiter

1: Ryan Grant
2: Pat MacArthur
3: Mike Cusack
4: Richie Gray
5: Al Kellock CAPTAIN
6: Rob Harley
7: Chris Fusaro
8: John Barclay


16: Dougie Hall
17: Jon Welsh
18: Moray Low
19: Tom Ryder
20: Henry Pyrgos
21: Johnnie Beattie
22: Ruaridh Jackson
23: Peter Murchie

REFEREE: George Clancy (IRFU), ASSISTANT REFEREES: John Lacey (IRFU), Leo Colgan (IRFU), 4th OFFICIAL: Mark Patton (IRFU), 5th OFFICIAL: Richard Kerr (IRFU), TMO: Marshall Kilgore (IRFU)


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