Preview: Leinster v Glasgow

16th Sep 2011, 16:08

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Second row muscle: Tom Ryder

Second row muscle: Tom Ryder

Glasgow will look to strike the first blow in what will be a season-long battle with Leinster at the RDS on Saturday.

Glasgow Warriors will be going all out to strike the first blow in what will be a season-long battle with Leinster when they take on the reigning European champions at the RDS on Saturday.

The clash is the opening instalment of a series that will see the teams compete at least another three times in the PRO12 and Heineken Cup.

As well as seeking to set the tone for the rest of their encounters with the Dublin side, the Warriors have the incentive of looking to secure a first ever win on Leinster soil.

In contrast to their poor away record in the fixture, Glasgow have won the last three Firhill meetings between the sides, a feat Sean Lineen believes should instil a level of confidence in his men ahead of Saturday's match.

"This is another huge challenge for us, to go to the home of the Heineken Cup holders and look to do something we've never done before, but it's an opportunity the players relish," Lineen told the Glasgow website.

"As with Ulster on the first weekend of the RaboDirect PRO12, we feel pretty strongly that it was our own errors that did for us against Munster last Friday night. We made a number of frustrating mistakes and then allowed them to play the game the way they wanted to in the second half.

"We know that every error is likely to be punished by a side like Leinster, so it's about being accurate and purposeful in everything we do, and also being sharp enough to capitalise on their mistakes.

"The three times we've beaten them at home in the last couple of years, we've brought all those qualities to the table, so we know it's something we can do if we perform to the same level."

Lineen has made four changes to his XV for the match. Former Melrose captain Scott Wight, on-loan Ospreys breakaway Rory Pitman and Scottish Rugby Elite Development player Finlay Gillies will make their first competitive starts for the club at fly-half, number eight and hooker respectively. Ed Kalman, meanwhile, comes in for Mike Cusack at tighthead prop.

"All four guys have worked hard to earn an opportunity to show what they can do in a starting role," said Lineen.

"Scott's a confident performer well suited to the sort of game we want to play, Rory offers good aggression and ball-carrying ability from the base of the scrum, while Finlay is a talented ball-player who isn't shy about getting stuck in. Ed will bring experience and application to the front row, where it's sure to be another tough battle."

Meanwhile, Luke Fitzgerald takes his place at inside centre alongside Eoin O'Malley who moves to outside centre for Leinster. Fionn Carr and Ian Madigan - try-scorers in the 31-10 victory over the Dragons last weekend - continue in a backline which also includes Isa Nacewa and Cillian Willis.

In the pack, Leo Auva'a makes his first start for the province at number eight after appearing twice off the bench so far this season and he joins Dominic Ryan and skipper Rhys Ruddock in the back-row for the visit of the Scottish side.

Damian Browne is named on the replacements bench alongside Leinster Academy back-rower Jordi Murphy and recent signing prop Nathan White who could both be in line for their debut appearances.

Form: Leinster have won their last 28 home matches in all competitions since a London Irish victory at the RDS in the European Cup on 31 October 2009. The Leinstermen beat the Dragons 31-10 at the RDS on Friday evening in the RaboDirect PRO12. Leinster's last seven games against Scottish opponents have all been won by the home team on the day. Glasgow Warriors have not tallied a single league point since their 16-19 defeat in Treviso on 16 April. The Warriors' only away win in the competition since May 2010 came at Aironi, 17-16, on 2 April. The last ten matches between the two sides have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst Glasgow have never won in 13 previous encounters on Leinster soil in all competitions.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Leinster: 15 Isa Nacewa, 14 Fionn Carr, 13 Eoin O'Malley, 12 Luke Fitzgerald, 11 David Kearney, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Cillian Willis, 8 Leo Auva'a, 7 Dominic Ryan, 6 Rhys Ruddock (capt), 5 Devin Toner, 4 Kevin McLaughlin, 3 Jamie Hagan, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Heinke van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Aaron Dundon, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Nathan White, 19 Damian Browne, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 John Cooney, 22 Brendan Macken, 23 Darren Hudson.

Glasgow:15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Federico Aramburu, 13 Rob Dewey, 12 Troy Nathan, 11 Colin Shaw, 10 Scott Wight, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Rory Pitman, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Rob Harley (c), 5 Nick Campbell, 4 Tom Ryder, 3 Ed Kalman, 2 Finlay Gillies, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Mike Cusack, 19 James Eddie, 20 Duncan Weir, 21 Ryan Wilson, 22 Colin Gregor, 23 Peter Horne.

Date: Saturday, September 17
Venue: Royal Dublin Society, Dublin
Kick-off: 18.00 (17.00GMT)
Referee: Andrew McMenemy