herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Leinster hoping to improve on poor record in Glasgow's Scotstoun

Leinster’s coach, Leo Cullen, consults his notes before training.
Leinster’s coach, Leo Cullen, consults his notes before training.

The professional mindset is all about parking and moving on. The rear view mirror is not what you want when you're looking ahead to better times. The reasons for failure are always more teased out and tortuous than those for success.

Right smack bang in the middle of an interprovincial derby and a tasty trip to the PRO12 League champions, coaches and players are constantly dragged back to comment on the World Cup and Europe.

It is difficult to move on when no one will let you.

The reason why the English clubs have been able to shelve the disaster that was their World Cup is that they place a serious value on The Premiership.

Windfall

The financial windfall from broadcasting rights and the import of world-class players from overseas has given their media a reason to move on.

Between them, Wasps, Bath, Saracens, Northampton Saints and Leicester Tigers have played nine and won nine in this season's Champions Cup.

This is inclined to make the sceptics sit up and take notice.

All the while, the Irish, Welsh and Scottish clubs have to understand the future probability that the PRO12 will grow in significance for them because their clubs will wither in significance in The Champions Cup.

The PRO12 clubs have taken part in 11 matches over the first two rounds of The Champions Cup with a record of two wins, one for Munster and one for The Ospreys.

Sadly, the reigning champions Glasgow Warriors were beaten at home by Northampton Saints in their only outing.

Their visitors tomorrow, Leinster, have been scalped at home and away by two other English clubs Wasps and Bath.

The Celtic League - excuse the involvement of Treviso and Zebre - not long ago seen as nothing more than an after-thought, could become the peak of ambition as long as French and English clubs simply purchase the world-class talent that the Irish provinces have to provide over the long-term with the odd overseas signing.

Leinster cannot keep pace with the market place as the likes of Racing Metro's Dan Carter and Toulon's Ma'a Nonu make their way north for the winters.

Save a miracle, the PRO12 is where it's at, and where it will be, for holders Glasgow and Leinster in Scotstoun.

The Sky cameras will be on hand to put the small venue with a capacity of close to 10,000 under the microscope.

Last week, The Premiership double-header between Saracens and Worcester Warriors, London Irish and Wasps attracted 42,680 guests to Twckenham.

The bigger picture in the outside world is a strange place to a club where the internal week-to-week focus barely allows players to look beyond the end of their noses unless contracts are up for negotiation.

Thus, Leinster and Ireland loose forward Jordi Murphy will look to convince coach Leo Cullen he should be given the chance to recover confidence in Glasgow.

In a 12-minute interview on Wednesday, there was room enough for Murphy to consider a single question on the subject of playing away to the champions.

Quality

"They are a top quality side and current champions," he said. "It is a very tough place to go and win but they were overturned by Northampton there two weeks ago only. We know we can go over and do it."

The rising rating of the intelligent Gregor Townsend gives Glasgow a coaching edge against most in the PRO12.

The former mercurial Scotland and British & Irish Lions out-half coaches it as he played it.

They have an enviable record of losing just once in their last 25 matches at Scotstoun.

Glasgow will defend a fortress mentality in a city well use to divided loyalties.

Further to this, Leinster have won just once on their travels there as they look to widen the gap from one point to four or five against a formidable foe one point and one rung below them in fifth on the ladder.

"We are neck-and-neck in the table and it is one of those games that we both really want to win," said Murphy.

For all of the immediacy and importance of the fixture in its own right, Murphy can't help himself turning away from it to what is a lost cause in Europe.

"It's only a week to go after that to the Champions Cup.

"There is a lot on the line," he stated.

"Yeah, it would be the right kind of place to go over and try and recapture your form and build the confidence back up."

At this stage, the League should be seen as the be-all and end-all.

It would be for English and French clubs in Leinster's position.

Glasgow v Leinster, Scotstoun, Tomorrow KO 3.00pm - Sky Sports

Promoted articles

Entertainment News