Glasgow Warriors have today named the side aiming for a place in the RaboDirect PRO12 Final when they face Leinster at the RDS on Saturday night (kick-off 7.35pm, live on BBC ALBA).
Ahead of the semi-final against the reigning European champions, the Warriors coaching team have made five changes to the XV that claimed a 24-3 win over Connacht in the club’s last ever match at Firhill six days ago.
There is one switch in the backline, where Chris Cusiter replaces Henry Pyrgos at scrum-half. Everyone else retains their places with DTHVDM seemingly having lost none of his scoring instincts during a lengthy lay-off, and Stuart Hogg looking to go up against one of the form 15s in the world in Rob Kearney.
The other changes come in the front five, Ryan Grant, Pat MacArthur, and Mike Cusack forming an all-new front row and captain Al Kellock restored to the boiler house. This also means Glasgow have a very handy replacement front row sitting on an already strong bench.
Head coach Sean Lineen told www.glasgowwarriors.org: “We’ve picked 23 men who we firmly believe have it in them to achieve a special result for Glasgow Warriors.
“We’re expecting the intensity and pace of the game to be Test level, and that’s where the combined efforts of the starting XV and a strong bench can really come into their own.
“It’s especially the case for the six front row guys that they’ll all have a significant role to play, and we’re in the fortunate position of having half a dozen lads who are performing to a high level, never mind the likes of Gordon Reid, Finlay Gillies and Ed Kalman who have also shown up well.
“The players have trained really well all week – there’s an obvious hunger and determination there which stands us in good stead. We’re all well aware of just how tough a match this is going to be, but we’re focussing on ourselves and what we have to do to win.
“We’ve shown character, ability and tenacity to get ourselves into the semi-finals. The challenge now is to bring out those qualities in even bigger quantities to beat the best team in Europe.”
Glasgow Warriors are running a Fan Zone in Dublin for supporters attending Saturday’s RaboDirect PRO12 semi-final against Leinster at the RDS. The Fan Zone will be located at the Ballsbridge Hotel on Pembroke Road, around a 10 minute walk from the stadium (www.ballsbridgehotel.com).
For those unable to make the trip, there is a special screening of BBC ALBA’s live coverage at Waxy O’Connor’s on West George Street. Three big screens in the city centre bar will be showing the game, snacks will be available at half-time, and Warriors players will be in attendance to take in the action with you (Under-18s can attend the screening provided they are accompanied by an over-18).
It could be Glasgow’s last game of the season, but they have been cussedly difficult to beat all year and will hoping to cause a potentially cocky Leinster side problems again.
Glasgow Warriors Team: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Federico Aramburu, 13 Alex Dunbar, 12 Graeme Morrison, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Chris Cusiter; 1 Ryan Grant, 2 Pat MacArthur, 3 Mike Cusack, 4 Richie Gray, 5 Al Kellock (capt), 6 Rob Harley, 7 Chris Fusaro, 8 John Barclay
Replacements: 16 Dougie Hall, 17 Jon Welsh, 18 Moray Low, 19 Tom Ryder, 20 Henry Pyrgos, 21 Johnnie Beattie, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Peter Murchie
Saturday 12th May (k.o 7.35pm, Live TV Coverage on BBC Alba)