Preview: Leinster v Glasgow

Date published: March 26 2015

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Glasgow Warriors will travel to Leinster this Friday as they look to gain revenge for defeat in last season's Pro12 final.

The Scottish side, who currently lead the Pro12, will be looking to complete the double over the defending champions in a repeat of the final at the RDS.

That would cement their place at the top of the table and push them closer to a home semi-final, while Leinster desperately need a win to get back into the play-off spots.

The two sides met on the opening day of the season when Glasgow edged to a 22-20 win at Scotstoun, but their record in Dublin is poor.

However Leinster have won just one of their last five games in all competitions, which has seen them slip out of the top four in the Pro12.

Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Mark Bennett, Finn Russell, Fraser Brown, Tim Swinson and Rob Harley have been named in the starting XV for Glasgow, while Jonny Gray and Adam Ashe are both included on the bench.
 
Hogg returns at full-back, while Seymour comes in on the right wing and Canadian international DTH van der Merwe continues on the opposite side.
 
Peter Horne and Mark Bennett form the centre partnership, while Russell comes in at stand-off and Niko Matawalu keeps his place at scrum-half.
 
Alex Allan comes in at loosehead, Brown returns at hooker and after a number of stand-out performances for Scotland under-20s Zander Fagerson starts his second game for the Warriors at tighthead.
 
Al Kellock captains the side for the 150th time in the second-row, making his 154th appearance in a Warriors shirt and he’ll pack down with Tim Swinson in the engine room.
 
Rob Harley, Chris Fusaro and Josh Strauss continue in the back-row.
 
"We’re looking forward to returning to action after our recent break and we’ve been boosted this week by the return of our Scotland internationals," said Glasgow head coach Gregor Townsend.

"We’ve had some great battles with Leinster over the past few seasons and we’re expecting another one tomorrow evening. 

"It’ll be the first time we’ve returned to the RDS since last season’s final and we know we’ll need to play our best rugby if we’re to come away with a positive result against the defending champions."

Meanwhile Leinster boss Matt O'Connor has made seven changes in total from the team that played the Scarlets last time out with two of those changes in the backs and a further five in the forwards. 

Ian Madigan, Eoin Reddan, Marty Moore, Jordi Murphy, Sean Cronin, Cian Healy and Luke Fitzgerald are all included in the match day 23 having featured in Ireland's dramatic Six Nations win over Scotland last Saturday.

Zane Kirchner makes his 40th appearance in Leinster colours at full-back with Fergus McFadden selected on the right wing. Dave Kearney who came off the bench against Scarlets, starts on the left wing.

In the centre Ian Madigan comes in and is selected at inside centre with Ben Te'o outside him at 13 having scored his first try for Leinster last time out. 

Michael Bent and Richardt Strauss start at loosehead prop and hooker respectively while Marty Moore continues at tighthead. 

Tom Denton and Mike McCarthy will lock down behind the front row, with Jordi Murphy, Shane Jennings and Jack Conan completing the pack for his 12th start of the season. Shane Jennings will captain the side in his 205th game for Leinster.

Cian Healy and Luke Fitzgerald, who both started against Scotland, start from the bench, while Sean Cronin who played for the last 20 minutes in Murrayfield, in also on the bench. Cronin will win his 90th cap for Leinster on Friday evening should he make an appearance. 

Form: Leinster's only victory in their last five fixtures in all tournaments was 29-8 against Zebre at the RDS Arena in round 15 of the Guinness PRO12. The Leinstermen have lost just once at home in their last nine encounters since October: 16-14 to the Dragons in the PRO12 on 15th February. Glasgow Warriors' only defeat in the last five rounds of Guinness PRO12 action was 22-10 in Munster in round 16. The Warriors have won only once away from home in the tournament since round 5: 54-10 on a trip to Zebre on 15th February. Glasgow were victorious 22-20 when the two sides met at Scotstoun in round 1 and have never before achieved a season's double over the Irishmen, whilst the Warriors' only previous victory on Leinster soil was 23-19 at the RDS Arena in the PRO12 on 17th September 2011.

Leinster: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Ben Te'o, 12 Ian Madigan, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Shane Jennings (c), 6 Jordi Murphy, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Tom Denton, 3 Marty Moore, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Michael Bent  
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Ben Marshall, 20 Dominic Ryan, 21 Isaac Boss, 22 Gordon D'Arcy, 23 Luke Fitzgerald

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Peter Horne, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Niko Matawalu, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Al Kellock (c), 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Alex Allan
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Mike Cusack, 19 Jonny Gray, 20 Adam Ashe, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Connor Braid, 23 Richie Vernon

Date: Friday, 27 March
Venue: RDS Arena, Dublin
Kick-off: 19:35 GMT
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: David Wilkinson (Ireland), Kieran Barry (Ireland)
Television match official: Seamus Flannery (Ireland)

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