Friday, April 28, 2017

Preview : Leinster v Glasgow


UPDATE - LATE CHANGE FOR LEINSTER

Jack Conan has a tightness in his calf so Dan Leavy starts at No 8 while Peader TImmins goes to the bench.


From the moment the Pro12 fixtures were released I’ve been harping on how important it was for Leinster to squirrel away enough points for a home semifinal because the schedule meant we had a stinker of a run-in.  Turns out we have it tucked in our back pocket with two matches to spare.

So this game tonight at the RDS doesn’t matter, right?  If you think my answer to that question is “yes” then welcome to Harpin On Rugby, this is clearly your first visit!!!

Reasons this match matters for Leinster -
  • AU REVOIR LYON - Some people don’t see the problem with short turnaround times but in most case I definitely do.  Winding down from one match and preparing for another is a meticulous process for a professional rugby organisation and anything which condenses that can be a hindrance.  Having said that, we’re just off a major disappointment of a result and this is a perfect way to focus our minds on the fact that there is a lot left to play for this season.
  • BYE BYE MIKE & ZANE - Barring injury this could very well be the last time Mike Ross & Zane Kirchner tog out for Leinster as starters at the RDS.  Obviously Mike has been here longer and seen a lot more success - in fact his overall contribution to Leinster & Ireland rugby over the years is off the scale.  If you get to the ground a bit early, keep an ear out for his name being called out in the starting lineups and give a big cheer.  And let’s not forget Zane either - he comes in for a lot of stick and made a frustrating mistake against Clérmont in the dying stages but I certainly don’t regret having him at Leinster; he has put in some great performances in his time here not least of which was in the 2014 Pro12 final, ironically against these same Glasgow Warriors.
  • EVEN MORE TALENT ON THE WAY - These last two seasons will be forever known (by me anyway) as the “Cullen’s Cubs” era as we have seen almost an entire team full of youngsters prove their worth at the highest level.  Garry Ringrose, Tadhg Furlong, Josh van der Flier, Dan Leavy, Ross Molony (tonight’s skipper - proud moment for him), Adam Byrne, Rory O’Loughlin…(I know you’re mentally scolding me for leaving someone out right now and that’s my point!)  Still, it’s very possible that we “ain’t seen nothing yet”.  They have made only brief cameos this season but I reckon Nick McCarthy and Tom Daly have done quite well and they get their chance to start tonight in key roles.  Plus there’s even more to come like Max Deegan, James Ryan, Jordan Larmour….(yes I know I’ve left even more out - stop doing that!!!!)
  • EH...IT’S GLASGOW!!! - Not much left for Glasgow to play for this season, though with Ulster still to face top four sides, they might think they’re an outside chance of catching them for fifth place and the marginally better Euro seeding that goes with it.  But even without that they’ll be as keen as anyone else in this league to take down Leinster at the RDS, possibly more so than most.
  • EH...IT’S LEINSTER!!! - Just look at what you’re doing right now.  You’re reading a preview of a match on an independent blog.  You’re clearly a big enough fan that you don’t need any of the above reasons as motivation to want Leinster to win tonight.  But if you could maybe persuade some of your friends to click to this page and read them maybe that would be a good idea ;-).  Seriously though, how awesome would it be for us to complete another 11 for 11 home wins in the Pro12, which this time would be backed up by 4 for 4 in Europe?  Plus, even though it doesn’t matter in the “grand scheme of things”, 1st place on the ladder always looks better than 2nd, especially when we’re jostling with our southern cousins for it.
So there you have it.  All that leaves me now is to make a prediction.  For once I’m going to side with the bookies who have us by six.  By the way - just two more Leinster tries will guarantee us a season average of four per game in the league - quite an achievement for pro rugby.  See you down the RDS tonight I hope.  JLP

#COYBIB

Glasgow : 15. Tommy Seymour 14. Leonardo Sarto 13. Nick Grigg 12. Sam Johnson 11. Lee Jones 10. Peter Horne 9. Henry Pyrgos CO-CAPTAIN
1. Alex Allan 2. Fraser Brown 3. Sila Puafisi 4. Brian Alainu’uese 5. Jonny Gray CO-CAPTAIN 6. Tim Swinson 7. Chris Fusaro 8. Adam Ashe
Replacements: 16. Pat MacArthur 17. Gordon Reid 18. Zander Fagerson 19. Rob Harley 20. Matt Fagerson 21. Ali Price 22. Finn Russell 23. Alex Dunbar

Guinness PRO12 2016/17 - Round 21
Friday, April 28, 2017, KO 7:35pm
RDS Arena
Referee: Marius Mitrea (FIR)
AR1: Rhys Thomas (WRU)
AR2: Simone Boaretto (FIR)
TMO: Alan Falzone (FIR)
TV: TG4

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