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Leinster Rugby vs Glasgow Warriors
RDS Showground
Saturday, 25 March 2009, 19:35

Television: Live Setanta Ireland
Season Ticket: Magners League 8

If the Magners league wasn't already lost after Leinster's defeat to Munster, the away defeat to Edinburgh last Friday was the final nail in the coffin for their hopes to defend their crown.   A second string team were up against it, but it was still disappointing to see the manner in which they conceded three tries in the first twenty minutes.   In fairness, they recovered to keep the score respectable and there were solid contributions from youngsters like Sean O'Brien, Paul O'Donohue and Fergus McFadden.  But for a number of squad players it may herald the beginning of the end of their Leinster careers.

So with all notions of the league chase gone, Saturday's game very much takes on the role of preparation for the big match next weekend against you know who!  The hype for that match is already in full flow and is running along the same lines of three years ago within the lazy, ignorant, dim-witted sheep that constitute the Irish Media. In other words it's Munster good, Leinster baaaaaaaaaaadd!  Every dull-minded, ill-informed stereotype is being dusted off and being presented as fact by hacks who've most probably never even spoken to a real Leinster fan.  You can expect this to be ratcheted up to breaking point up to next week, when mercifully, we can actually forget all the nonsense and just watch the match.

So to take our minds off things, we have a match to watch this weekend, but just about everything about it will be judged with next week in mind.  To that end, Michael Cheika has named a near full strength team.  Leo Cullen is rested so Devin Toner gets a rare start and Rob Kearney misses out due to illness, but otherwise it's the team that started the Harlequins match.  Interestingly Shane Jennings captains the team in Leo Cullen's absence, not Chris Whitaker.

For Glasgow, there is no such Heineken Cup match but they will be looking to win to complete a rare double over Leinster, after beating them 15-12 in Firhill back in October.  Glasgow have had their moments this season, indeed that win put them third in the table and they looked capable of having a say in race for the title.  The form of the Evans brothers lifted the side and they had one of their best ever results in Europe when they defeated the Toulouse on their own patch.  However ultimately their challenge came to nothing on both fronts and now their last objective is to finish as high up the table as possible and possibly overhaul Edinburgh to be the highest placed Scottish team.

Leinster will need to focus on getting their performance right to get the win and to go into next week's match full of confidence.  To this end they need to focus on getting the backline working again and scoring tries.  Glasgow won't lay down for us, but Leinster should have enough to win, and hopefully win with a bit of style too.

Team Lineups

Leinster Rugby
Glasgow Warriors
Teams Girvan Dempsey 15 Bernard Stortoni
Isa Nacewa 14 Lome Fa'Atau
Brian O'Driscoll
13 Max Evans
Gordon D'Arcy 12 Graeme Morrison
Luke Fitzgerald
11 Thom Evans
Felipe Contepomi 10 Ruaridh Jackson
Chris Whitaker 9 Mark McMillan

Cian Healy 1 Kevin Tkachuk
Bernard Jackman 2 Dougie Hall
Stan Wright 3 Moray Low
Devin Toner
4 Tim Barker
Malcolm O'Kelly 5 Alastair Kellock (C)
Rockie Elsom
6 Calum Forrester
Shane Jennings 7 John Barclay
Jamie Heaslip 8 Kelly Brown

Replacements John Fogarty 16 Fergus Thomson
Ronnie McCormack
17 Justin Va'a
Leo Cullen
18 Richie Gray
Sean O'Brien 19 James Eddie
Chris Keane
20 Colin Gregor
Jonny Sexton
21 Andrew Henderson
Shane Horga 22 Hefin O'Hare

Officials Referee: James Jones (WRU)

by Jim O'Connor, © 2009-04-28