Gregor Townsend expects ‘great battle’ with Leinster

Glasgow Warriors coach to welcome back six members of Scotland’s World Cup squad

Simone Favaro: the Italian is the latest sign of the relatively recent attraction of foreign players to the PRO12 champions. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA

Simone Favaro: the Italian is the latest sign of the relatively recent attraction of foreign players to the PRO12 champions. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA

 

Simone Favaro was a super-destructive force for Italy against Ireland at the World Cup less than three weeks ago.

The abrasive openside is the latest sign of the relatively recent attraction of foreign players to the PRO12 champions.

The fear of crossing the sea to Dublin is nothing more than a long lost memory for Gregor Townsend’s outfit.

He will welcome back half a dozen members of Scotland’s World Cup squad in Sean Lamont, Richie Vernon, Duncan Weir, Tim Swinson, Ryan Wilson and Kevin Bryce to lend their weight to what would be a significant win on the road.

“We were pleased to get back to winning ways last weekend . . . ,” said Townsend.

“We’ve been boosted by the return of some players from the Rugby World Cup, so competition for places has increased. It’s important that we utilise our squad with 15 back-to-back games up until the beginning of February.

“We’ve had some great battles with Leinster over the years and we’re expecting another one tomorrow night.”

Leo Cullen will be mindful of Glasgow’s love of the offload and their clear strategy to seek out space and soft shoulders.

Fast-improving

The return of Ben Te’o cannot be under estimated as an arrowhead to their attack outside the sweet distribution of Noel Reid and that of fast-improving flyhalf Cathal Marsh.

The weeding out process is well under way as the headline internationals are drip-fed back to Leinster. Garry Ringrose has made a solid impression, especially in his excellent reads in defence and lines of attack. Dan Leavy is beginning to show what he can do.

Openside Josh van der Flier will relish the shot at Favaro as an up-to-date measurement of his hot form and Ross Molony will have an interesting lineout tussle with Warriors new star, 18-year-old lock Scott Cummings.

Leinster v Glasgow Warriors, RDS, 7.45pm Sky Sports 2

LEINSTER: I Nacewa (capt); G Ringrose, B Te’o, N Reid, F McFadden; C Marsh, L McGrath; M Bent, A Dundon, M Moore, R Molony, M McCarthy, R Ruddock, J van der Flier, J Conan. Replacements: J Tracy, P Dooley, T Furlong, D Ryan, D Leavy, I Boss, R Byrne, C Kelleher.

GLASGOW: S Lamont; T Naiyaravoro, R Vernon, F Lyle, R Hughes; D Weir, M Blair; A Allan, P MacArthur, Z Fagerson, T Swinson, S Cummings, R Harley (capt), S Favaro, R Wilson. Replacements: K Bryce, J Yanuyanutawa, M Cusack, G Peterson, A Ashe, H Blake, G Hart, R Clegg.

Referee: Ian Davies (WRU)

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