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Leinster Rugby vs Glasgow Warriors
RDS Showground, Dublin
Saturday, 17th September, 2011, 18:00

Television: Sorry, TV Blackout for this one. Apparently RTE prefer to show instead highlights of a rugby match everyone will have already watched earlier that morning!

That was more like it!

Okay, Leinster's win last week over the Dragons was far from perfect but after the dismal display against the Ospreys in week one, a 21 point win with three marvellous tries was quite satisfactory. True, there were still issues. There were once again problems with the lineout and the breakdown still wasn't up to standard either. Leinster played in patches and their defensive intensity wasn't as high as it should be, as we saw when they switched off for the Dragons' breakaway try.

However there were also a lot of positives, not least Ian Madigan's display at out-half, which was comfortably his best in a blue jersey. He scored a superb individual try of course, but this was only the icing on the cake of an excellent all-round performance. His game management was top-notch (an area he's struggled with in the past) especially his kicking from hand. His good form is particularly timely as with the retirement of Ian McKinley and the long-term injury to Mat Berquist, he's effectively the only out-half in the senior squad until Jonny Sexton comes back from the World Cup.

Isa Nacewa can play there too of course, but as we saw last Friday, he's so much more effective at full back. Of course a player of Nacewa's quality should be at the World Cup, but if Leinster fans are honest, they'll be glad he doesn't get along with Fiji after witnessing his display last week. Most of Leinster's creativity started with Nacewa and he seems to be delighted that he has a new toy to play with in the back three in Fionn Carr. After only a couple of games there's already a buzz every time Carr touches the ball and he delivered in fine style by creating Brendan Macken's first Leinster try and then scoring his own debut try. He has bags of pace and remarkable stepping ability and once Leinster players get used to trailing his runs he'll be even more productive. So all in all, it was a pretty encouraging evening.

Leinster will get to know Glasgow very well this season as they will play them at least four times after being drawn in the same Heineken Cup pool together. So far this term, Glasgow have continued their poor form of last season when they plummeted from the play-offs to the foot of the table. The reasons for this are complicated but they certainly haven't been helped by losing players due to financial cutbacks from the SRU. They're in second last place in the table without a point after losing away to Ulster on opening day and at home to Munster last week. They'll be desperate to finally get off the mark despite missing nine players to the World Cup and several more to injury.

Glasgow have named a team with four changes from the side that started last week. Three of the incoming players will make their debuts; Scott Wight at out-half, Rory Pitman (who's on loan from the Ospreys) at number eight and development player Finlay Gillies at hooker. The other change is the experienced Ed Kalman coming in for Mike Cusack at tight-head prop. There are two familiar faces in the centre where former Ulster player Rob Dewey and Troy Nathan, once of Connacht, team up. Rob Harley captains the team from the back row and it must be said it's a pretty mixed team in terms of experience.

Leinster have made two changes to the team that started last week. Luke Fitzgerald is back from injury and he replaces Brendan Macken in the centre. The other change comes in the pack where Leo Auva'a is given his first start at number eight. His inclusion causes something of a reshuffle in the back five with Rhys Ruddock moving to number six and Kevin McLaughlin shifting into the second row in place of Damien Browne who drops to the bench along with Macken. Nathan White is definitely on the bench this week and he'll hope to make his debut as will academy back row Jordi Murphy.

Despite having a terrific home record against Leinster, Glasgow have never won in Dublin. They always manage to make things awkward though and it's never as easy as it appears. However, though it may well be patchy again, Leinster should be able to win again comfortably enough.

Team Lineups

Leinster Rugby

Glasgow Warriors
Teams Isa Nacewa
15 Stuart Hogg
Fionn Carr
14 Federico Aramburu
Eoin O'Malley 13 Rob Dewey
Luke Fitzgerald
12 Troy Nathan
David Kearney 11 Colin Shaw
Ian Madigan 10 Scott Wight
Cillian Willis
9 Henry Pyrgos

Heinke van der Merwe 1 Ryan Grant
Richardt Strauss
2 Finlay Gillies
Jamie Hagan
3 Ed Kalman
Kevin McLaughlin 4 Tom Ryder
Devin Toner 5 Nick Campbell
Rhys Ruddock (C) 6 Rob Harley (C)
Dominic Ryan 7 Chris Fusaro
Leo Auva'a 8 Rory Pitman

Replacements Aaron Dundon 16 Pat MacArthur
Jack McGrath 17 Gordon Reid
Nathan White 18 Mike Cusack
Damian Browne
19 James Eddie
Jordi Murphy
20 Duncan Weir
John Cooney 21 Ryan Wilson
Brendan Macken
22 Colin Gregor
Darren Hudson 23 Peter Horne

Not Considered
due to Injury
Mat Berquist
Steven Sykes,
Eamonn Sheridan,
Shane Horgan,
Simon Shawe,
Andrew Conway

Johnnie Beattie,
Alex Dunbar,
Calum Forrester,
Dave McCall,
Peter Murchie,
Tommy Seymour,
Fergus Thomson,
Jon Welsh
Officials Referee: Andrew McMenemy (SRU),
Assistant Referees: John Lacey (IRFU), Trevor Collins (IRFU),
4th Official: Ed Kenny (Leinster Rugby Referees),
5th Official: Gordon Murray (Leinster Rugby Referees)

by Jim O'Connor, © 2011-09-16

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