Leinster face a step up in challenge on trip to Scotstoun to face Glasgow

Leo Cullen’s side looking to complete unbeaten start before international break

Glasgow Warriors v Leinster, Scotstoun, Friday, 7.35 – Live on TG4, Premier Sports

Glasgow Warriors will provide Leinster with the sternest examination of the United Rugby Championship to date as the defending champions and visitors look to maintain their unbeaten start to the season.

Three relatively facile wins at home along with escaping Rodney Parade following an error-strewn display have nudged them into second place behind Ulster. Performance values have meandered a little from fitful to excellent in quality terms. They’ll need to be closer to their best to negotiate this assignment.

Leo Cullen has made six changes to the team that racked up a half-century of points against the Scarlets with Adam Byrne returning on the right wing and Ross Byrne and Luke McGrath inheriting the halfback roles. There is one alteration to each row in the pack; Cian Healy, Ryan Baird and Dan Leavy coming into the starting team.

It’s been a momentous week for Skerries centre Ciarán Frawley, who followed a man-of-the-match performance against the Scarlets with a call-up to Andy Farrell’s Ireland squad for the November Test series, so too replacement hooker Dan Sheehan. Frawley will look to celebrate with another assured performance. Cullen has opted for a six-two split on the bench.


There will be a familiar face in the Glasgow coaching booth in former Ireland under-20 and Connacht assistant coach Nigel Carolan. He’s already been name-checked on a couple of occasions in his first season for his work as backs coach.

The home side, chasing a fourth straight win, are able to recall Lions duo, prop Zander Fagerson and scrumhalf Ali Price. Glasgow coach Danny Wilson makes seven changes to the side that beat Zebre last time out. Rob Harley, Jack Dempsey, Sam Johnson, Kyle Steyn and Ross Thompson are the others promoted to the starting line-up. The Scottish club boast a strong bench.

Glasgow have made a virtue of being inhospitable and no one embodies this more than captain Ryan Wilson, a feisty, confrontational presence that galvanises his team-mates and supporters alike. The game is almost a sell-out.

There has been plenty to admire in the evolution of Leinster’s playing style this season, the quick tempo, offloading and angle changes to complement the power of their set piece but they do need to cut down on the handling errors. Perhaps it’s fairer to suggest that being a little more prudent might lead to fewer turnovers. Glasgow won’t need much encouragement or scope if Leinster are sloppy.

It’s the final match in a block of five games and Leinster will be keen to sign off on a positive note, something within their ken.

GLASGOW WARRIORS: R Thompson; K Steyn, S Tuipulotu, S Johnson, R McLean; D Weir, A Price; J Bhatti, J Matthews, Z Fagerson; R Harley, R Gray; R Wilson (capt), R Darge, J Dempsey.

Replacements: G Turner, O Kebble, E Pieretto, L Bean, M Fagerson, G Horne, N Grigg, C Forbes.

LEINSTER: H Keenan; A Byrne, G Ringrose, C Frawley, J Lowe; R Byrne, L McGrath (capt); C Healy, R Kelleher, T Furlong; R Molony, R Baird; C Doris, D Leavy, J Conan.

Replacements: D Sheehan, E Byrne, M Ala'alatoa, D Toner, R Ruddock, J Gibson-Park, J Osborne, J van der Flier.

Referee: C Evans (Wales).