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Preview: Leinster v Glasgow

28th February 2014 10:30

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Peter Murchie for Glasgow Warriors

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Glasgow Warriors full-back Peter Murchie makes his long-awaited return from injury on Saturday as his side take on Leinster.

The 28-year-old has been out of action since October with a dislocated shoulder but returns for the trip to face the champions at the RDS.

Tommy Seymour, who has been released from Scotland duty for this weekend's game, lines up on the right wing, while Niko Matawalu moves from scrum-half to the left wing in place of Lee Jones, who has been named among the replacements.

There is a new centre partnership with Finn Russell moving from fly-half to inside centre and lining up alongside Richie Vernon, with Mark Bennett on the bench.

Ruaridh Jackson switches from full-back to his normal position of fly-half and after being released by Scotland, Chris Cusiter starts at scrum-half and captains the side.

Gordon Reid replaces Jerry Yanuyanutawa at loosehead, Pat MacArthur returns from injury at hooker in place of Dougie Hall and Mike Cusack continues at tighthead.

Tim Swinson, who has also been released by Scotland, lines up in the second-row alongside 19-year-old Jonny Gray.

James Eddie starts at blindside, Rob Harley moves to openside in place of Tyrone Holmes, who is among the replacements, and Josh Strauss continues at number eight.

Glasgow won their previous encounter with Leinster 12-6 at Scotstoun back in September, but the Warriors have not won at the RDS since September 2011.

"We were very disappointed to lose at the Dragons last weekend and we'll need a much better performance tomorrow night in Dublin," said head coach Gregor Townsend.

"Leinster are one of the top teams in the league and are the defending champions, so this game will give us a good indication of where we are as a team.

"It's great to have Peter Murchie back involved again after his injury lay-off and we've also been boosted this week by the return of Tommy Seymour, Chris Cusiter and Tim Swinson from the Scotland squad.

"Our recent encounters have all been very close and we're expecting another tight match tomorrow night."

Meanwhile, Leinster boss Matt O'Connor has made ten changes in personnel to the 15 selected last Thursday away to the Blues with players released from the Irish set up once again included from the start, while another two are named amongst the replacements.

O'Connor has again shuffled the pack and selected a completely new eight and an experienced one at that with captain Leo Cullen, Mike McCarthy and Shane Jennings all to feature from the start, with the likes of Richardt Strauss and Mike Ross available from the bench.

Elsewhere in the pack, the front row features Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin and Marty Moore back in Leinster colours but renewing their international combination of late. In the back row Rhys Ruddock at 6 and Jordi Murphy at 8 will be hoping to keep up their recent good form against the Scottish side.

In the backs Fergus McFadden makes a welcome return to the starting 15 and is selected at outside centre with Noel Reid once again selected at 12.

Darragh Fanning continues on the right wing with Luke Fitzgerald selected on the left.

Zane Kirchner, the 28 times capped South African, continues at full back for his 15th Leinster appearance and he'll be hoping to add to his two tries. In the half backs, Ian Madigan starts for the 99th time while Eoin Reddan is getting ever closer to his own century of Leinster caps with tomorrow night being the Limerick man's 96th cap.

Form: Leinster's only defeat in the PRO12 since round 5 came away at Edinburgh on 20th December. The Leinstermen have not been defeated at the RDS in any tournament since last March. Leinster have lost their last two fixtures with Scottish opponents but the only Scottish side to have won at the RDS remains Glasgow, who did so in September 2011. Glasgow Warriors' record breaking sequence of seven successive away victories in the PRO12 ended on Sunday with their narrow 23-24 defeat at the Dragons. Glasgow have won four of the five encounters they have played against Irish provinces this season. The Warriors were successful 12-6 when the two sides met at Scotstoun in round 3 and are going for a first ever season's double over the Leinstermen. Glasgow's only previous victory on Leinster soil in 18 previous visits in all tournaments was 23-19 at the RDS in the PRO12 on 17th September 2011.

The teams:

Leinster: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Darragh Fanning, 13 Fergus McFadden, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jordi Murphy, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Leo Cullen (c), 3 Martin Moore, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Jack McGrath
Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Michael Bent, 18 Mike Ross, 19 Tom Denton, 20 Dominic Ryan, 21 Isaac Boss, 22 Jimmy Gopperth, 23 Darren Hudson

Glasgow: 15 Peter Murchie, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Richie Vernon, 12 Finn Russell, 11 Niko Matawalu, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Chris Cusiter (c), 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Rob Harley, 6 James Eddie, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Mike Cusack, 2 Pat MacArthur, 1 Gordon Reid
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Ed Kalman, 19 Leone Nakarawa, 20 Tyrone Holmes, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Mark Bennett, 23 Lee Jones

Date: Saturday, March 1
Kick-off: 20:30 GMT
Venue: RDS, Dublin
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

Assistant referees: Stuart Gaffkin (Ireland), Richard Kerr (Ireland)

Television match official: Alan Rogan (Ireland)

Assessor: Michael Carroll (Ireland)

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