Planet Rugby

Preview: Glasgow v Leinster

19th September 2013 11:44

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Chris Cusiter glasgow v leinster pro12

Back to lead Glasgow: Chris Cusiter

Chris Cusiter returns to the Glasgow Warriors starting XV to captain the side against Leinster at Scotstoun Stadium on Friday.

After an 11-month spell on the sidelines, the Scotland scrum-half returned to action last month in a substitute appearance against Exeter Chiefs and then went on to feature from the bench against Cardiff Blues and Ulster.

In total Gregor Townsend has made five changes and one positional switch to the side that defeated Ulster at Ravenhill last Friday.

Alex Dunbar, Jon Welsh, Chris Fusaro, Richie Vernon and Cusiter come into the starting XV, with Sean Lamont moving from centre to wing. Vernon comes in at number eight and Fusaro starts at openside.

The only change to the front-row is the inclusion of Jon Welsh in place of Kalman, alongside Pat MacArthur and Ryan Grant.

"We're delighted to have won our first two games of the season but we'll need to raise our level of performance against Leinster," said Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend.

"They have been consistently one of the leading teams in Europe for some time now and have only lost once in their last 20 games. It will require one of our very best performances in order to win on Friday.

"There wasn't much between the sides last season and we came close to winning on a couple of occasions. We learned a great deal from those games; how we will have to work hard for 80 minutes and take any opportunities that come our way.

"Our intensity at training has gone up a notch this week and the players are very focused on what is a highly anticipated match.

"We're all really pleased to see Chris Cusiter back involved again after his injury lay-off, and as captain he will undoubtedly have a big role to play."

Meanwhile, Shane Jennings leads Leinster for the third successive weekend for the trip to Scotland in a pack which sees Ireland hooker Richardt Strauss - who is set to make his 85th appearance - continue in the front-row.

Meanwhile, Tom Denton is the only change to the pack as starts at second row.

Scrum-half Isaac Boss will make his first start of the campaign after coming on as a replacement against the Ospreys to make his 79th Leinster appearance and he will form a new half-back partnership with the PRO12's joint top scorer Jimmy Gopperth (26 points in two games).

Ian Madigan lines out at full-back with Darragh Fanning and Dave Kearney named on the wings.

Cian Healy and Rob Kearney are included amongst a strong bench alongside fellow Ireland internationals Eoin Reddan and Devin Toner.

Form: Glasgow Warriors have been victorious in rounds 1 and 2 of the RaboDirect PRO12, but have not won their opening three encounters of a season since 2002/03. The Warriors have won their last eight fixtures at Scotstoun in all competitions since Castres beat them there in the European Cup last December. Leinster's only defeat in their last 20 matches in all competitions was to Ulster at the RDS in March. The Leinstermen have won all eight games they have played away from home in 2013, and have not lost to a Scottish opponent since Glasgow visited the RDS in September 2011. Glasgow are winless in their last seven encounters with Leinster in all competitions, although they did draw 10 all at Firhill in the PRO12 in February 2012.

The teams:

Glasgow: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Lamont, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Chris Cusiter (c), 8 Richie Vernon, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Tim Swinson, 4 Jonny Gray, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 Pat MacArthur, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Dougie Hall, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Ed Kalman, 19 James Eddie, 20 Josh Strauss, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Scott Wight. 23 Byron McGuigan.

Leinster: 15 Ian Madigan, 14 Dave Kearney, 13 Brendan Macken, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Darragh Fanning, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Jordi Murphy, 7 Shane Jennings (c), 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Tom Denton, 4 Mike McCarthy, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Jack McGrath.
Replacements: 16 Aaron Dundon, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Martin Moore, 19 Devin Toner, 20 Dominic Ryan, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Noel Reid, 23 Rob Kearney.

Date: Friday, September 20
Kick-off: 19:35 BST
Venue: Scotstoun Stadium
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)

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