Preview: Glasgow Warriors v Leinster

Date published: March 17 2016

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Rory Clegg has been named in the Glasgow Warriors starting XV for Friday’s rearranged PRO12 clash with Leinster at Scotstoun, while backrowers Adam Ashe and Tyrone Holmes both return from injury.

The game was due to be played in December but was postponed after the Scotstoun pitch was deemed unplayable.

Pivot Clegg has re-joined the Warriors on a deal until May 2017 and following five months with  Top 14 side Oyonnax, goes straight into the starting line-up to make his first appearance for the club since facing Leinster at the RDS last October.

Ashe starts at number eight after recovering from a shoulder injury, while Holmes is named amongst the replacements following a three-month spell on the sidelines with a foot injury.

Peter Murchie retains his place at full-back, with Lee Jones and Rory Hughes continuing on either wing.

Mark Bennett once again wears the number 13 jersey,  with Sam Johnson coming in for Alex Dunbar at inside centre.

Clegg starts at fly-half, with Duncan Weir away with Scotland, while Grayson Hart replaces Henry Pyrgos at scrum-half. In the pack, Gordon Reid and Fraser Brown once again start at loosehead prop and at hooker respectively, with Sila Puafisi coming in for Zander Fagerson at tighthead.

Leone Nakarawa moves from number eight back into the engine room to partner USA international Greg Peterson.

James Eddie comes in for Rob Harley at blindside flanker, Simone Favaro replaces Chris Fusaro at openside and Ashe completes the back row.

Scottish Rugby Academy centre Nick Grigg could make his debut for the club from the bench.

Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend said: “We’re really looking forward to facing Leinster at a sold-out Scotstoun tomorrow night.

“We’ve had some great battles with them over the years and they have being playing well during the 6 Nations window.

“They have always set very high standards and continue to deliver a high level of performance, whichever team they put out on the field.

“We’re delighted to welcome Rory (Clegg) back to the club and he goes straight into the side with Finn (Russell), Duncan (Weir) and Peter (Horne) away with Scotland and Gregor (Hunter) out injured.”

Meanwhile, Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has made eight changes in total from the XV that accounted for the Ospreys last time out with a welcome return from injury for Ireland international Dave Kearney while Academy back Joey Carbery is in line to make his debut from the bench.

Zane Kirchner starts at full-back for his 12th start of the season, with Isa Nacewa captaining the side from the right wing and Dave Kearney coming onto the left for his first game since injuring his shoulder in the Six Nations game against France.

In the centre, Cullen has again gone with Ben Te’o and Garry Ringrose, while in the halfbacks Luke McGrath and Cathal Marsh will start at nine and ten respectively.

In the pack, it’s a new front row combination with Peter Dooley, James Tracy and Tadhg Furlong packing down. While in the second row Mick Kearney and Hayden Triggs start together for only the second time this season.

Up front, Dominic Ryan starts having won his 100th Leinster cap last time out against the Ospreys with try scorer from that same game, Dan Leavy, and Jordi Murphy completing the pack.

Amongst the substitutes, fly-half Joey Carbery is in line to make his first appearance for the senior team having played for the Leinster A team last weekend against London Welsh scoring 14 points with the boot.

Form: This Round 9 game was postponed from its original date in early December due to weather conditions. Glasgow Warriors have lost just one of their last six first team fixtures: 10-13 away at Ulster on 12 February. The Warriors solitary defeat at Scotstoun since September was 15-26 to Northampton in the European Champions Cup on 21 November. Leinster have lost just once in the PRO12 since Round 4: 13-23 to Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade on 29 January. The Leinstermen’s only defeat to a Scottish opponent in their last five such encounters was 9-16 to Edinburgh at Meggetland in Round 1 this season. Leinster won 23-18 at the RDS Arena in round 5 and have achieved a regular season’s double over the Warriors only once since season 2005/06 – in 2012/13. Leinster’s only previous victory at Scotstoun was 6-0 in November 2012 (that was also the only time that the Warriors have been nilled at home).

The 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, 8 Adam Ashe, 7 Simone Favaro, 6 James Eddie, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Greg Peterson, 3 Sila Puafisi, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Gordon Reid
Replacements: 16 James Malcolm 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa 18 Zander Fagerson 19 Scott Cummings 20 Tyrone Holmes 21 Ali Price 22 Nick Grigg 23 Glenn Bryce

Leinster: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Isa Nacewa (c) 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Cathal Marsh, 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Jordi Murphy, 7 Dan Leavy, 6 Dominic Ryan, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Mick Kearney, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 James Tracy, 1 Peter Dooley
Replacements: 16 Bryan Byrne, 17 Jeremy Loughman, 18 Michael Bent, 19 Ross Molony, 20 Peadar Timmins, 21 Isaac Boss, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Noel Reid

Date: Friday, March 18
Venue: Scotstoun
Kick-off: 19:35 GMT
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Lloyd Linton (Scotland), Mike Adamson (Scotland)
TMO: Jim Yuille (Scotland)

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