Planet Rugby

Preview: Leinster v Glasgow

09th May 2013 18:10

Share:

ed kalman cian healy leinster glasgow

Escape: Cian Healy

Challenge Cup finalists Leinster will host the impressive Glasgow Warriors in Saturday's RaboDirect Pro12 semi-final in Dublin.

No other side has scored more tries this season than Glasgow (66) and Leinster (63).

Both sides arrive at the semi-final stage in rich veins of form - Leinster having won 12 of their last 14 matches, Glasgow ten of their last 12. One of Glasgow's most recent losses includes a 22-17 defeat to Leinster also at the RDS.

The star that day, as he has been for most of this season, was Ian Madigan.

Having shone all too brilliantly in his cameos appearances during the Six Nations, Madigan has improved as the season has progressed, effortlessly pulling the strings during Leinster's Challenge Cup quarter-final away to London Wasps.

Finishing the season as the league's top points scorer, Madigan has offered a glimpse of life after Johnny Sexton. It looks rosy.

Heineken Cup disappointment may still sting Leinster after having won three of the last four titles, but a cup double is now on the cards.

With Sexton and coach Joe Schmidt departing along with Isa Nacewa, an era is ending in the Irish capital. Clinching the Challenge Cup and a RaboDirect Pro12 title - a competition in which they have lost the last three finals - would be an ideal send-off.

Glasgow however are not to be sniffed at. The Ospreys aside, no other team has conceded fewer tries in the Pro12 this season than Glasgow's 30. For reference, the Dragons let in 72.

Edinburgh may have carried the torch for Scottish rugby last season with a first ever Heineken Cup semi-final, but now their local rivals have made waves.

Glasgow are packed with exciting talent - including young Scots in the form of Sean Maitland, Ryan Grant, Duncan Weir and the British and Irish Lions secret weapon Stuart Hogg.

It has been the acquisition of Fijian scrum-half Niko Matawalu however that has spurred the Warriors onto greater things. His recent contract extension indicates long-term success.

Defeats of five and six points against Leinster this season can give Glasgow hope pulling off a famous win. They have thoroughly earned their opportunity.

Form: This is Leinster's fourth successive home Play-Off game at the RDS, all of which they have won. In fact the Leinstermen have won their last six semi-final fixtures in all competitions. Leinster's only loss in the RaboDirect POR12 since round 11 was 18-22 at home to Ulster on 30th March. Leinster are unbeaten in their last ten encounters against Scottish opponents in all tournaments since Glasgow Warriors won 23-19 at the RDS in the PRO12 on 17th September 2011. This is Glasgow Warriors second successive appearance in the Play-Offs, and a repeat of last year's fixture at this stage when they also faced Leinster at the RDS, but went down 15-19. The Warriors have won three of their last four contests with Irish provinces. Leinster are unbeaten in their last six clashes with the Warriors in all competitions whilst Glasgow have been victorious only once in nine previous visits to the RDS.

Players to watch:

For Leinster: His playing days are numbered, but Isa Nacewa is loved as much as ever in Dublin. The back-three star will return to New Zealand at the end of the season with a healthy collection of medals in his suitcase. He has been outstanding and Zane Kirchner will have his work cut out to replace him.

For Glasgow: With the Lions coaches singing his praises last week, Stuart Hogg gives Glasgow an edge of X Factor in the back three that other sides would love to possess. Deployed in his natural position of full-back.

Head-to-Head: Favoured by many to tour with the Lions but both left behind, the scrummaging battle between Mike Ross and Ryan Grant will prove key. Injuries could see either one find themselves on a plane to Australia.

Prediction: Tight as it has been this season between these, but Leinster to hold out at the RDS. Leinster by five!

The teams:

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Isa Nacewa, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sean O'Brien/Shane Jennings, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Leo Cullen (c), 3 Mike Ross, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Quinn Roux, 20 Shane Jennings/Rhys Ruddock, 21 John Cooney, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Andrew Conway.

Glasgow: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Sean Lamont, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 DTH Van der Merwe, 10 Peter Horne, 9 Niko Matawalu, 8 Ryan Wilson (c), 7 John Barclay, 6 Josh Strauss, 5 Al Kellock, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 Pat MacArthur, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Moray Low, 18 Ed Kalman, 19 Tom Ryder, 20 Rob Harley, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Mark Bennett

Date: Saturday, May 11
Kick-off: 19:35 BST
Venue: RDS, Dublin
Referee: Pascal Gauzere
Assistant referees: Marius Mitrea, Giuseppe Vivarini
TMO: Carlo Damasco

by Ben Coles
@bencoles_

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens vs NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Preview
London Welsh vs Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Preview
Friday , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
Saturday , November 29
Leicester vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Sunday , November 23
Georgia vs JapanGeorgia vs Japan Preview
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South Africa14:30
England vs Australia14:30
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Sunday , November 23
Treviso vs LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Preview
Edinburgh vs Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Preview
Friday , November 28
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Cardiff Blues vs Treviso19:35
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Lyon vs Montpellier18:00
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:00
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:00
Toulon vs Clermont Auvergne18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
England 28 - 9 Samoa
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
Bath 23 - 14 Newcastle FalconsBath vs Newcastle Falcons Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Romania 13 - 18 JapanRomania vs Japan Report
France 29 - 26 AustraliaFrance vs Australia Report
Scotland 16 - 24 New ZealandScotland vs New Zealand Report
England 28 - 31 South AfricaEngland vs South Africa Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Exeter828
2Bath828
3Northampton726
4Saracens724
5Wasps820