Tuesday 16 January 2018

Carbery can rise to test

Cullen calls Kearney, Tracy and Murphy into Glasgow cauldron

Joey Carbery of Leinster makes a break. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Joey Carbery of Leinster makes a break. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Leinster will have a far better idea of how far they have come in a short period of time by close of play this afternoon.

Coach Leo Cullen has drafted in Ireland internationals Dave Kearney and Jordi Murphy as well as hooker James Tracy for what should be super-fast action on the artificial surface at Scotstoun this afternoon.

There is a lean look to the Leinster pack with a heavy emphasis on the athleticism of the back row of Dan Leavy, Josh van der Flier and Murphy.

The front five won't lack explosiveness as Cian Healy makes his second start and James Tracy his first.

However, the lineout will have to improve from the multiple malfunctions against Treviso as first Bryan Byrne and then Tracy were unable to always connect with their high flyers.

This is where Ross Molony's progression in a specialist role will come under severe scrutiny as Mike McCarthy carries out his enforcer duties.

Michael Bent will be another under the microscope. The tight-head must bounce back from a torrid scrum setback.

The careful handling of Tadhg Furlong from the bench points towards Joe Schmidt and Greg Feek's opinion the hour is at hand for the Wexford man to become Ireland's anchor.

Luke McGrath retains the captaincy inside an exciting backline led by man of the moment Joey Carbery and the all-dancing midfield of Noel Reid and Garry Ringrose.

The reunion of the Kearneys and impact of Fergus McFadden gives the back three a solid look.

It took just four months for the champions to be made to look like chumps by Glasgow.

Connacht will have another shot at making The Sportsground a good place to be this evening (KO7.35, TG4), albeit against the only club to score more points (59) and tries (8) than Glasgow in round one.

"It's been a tough week with a lot of honesty and learnings for us as a team," offered coach Pat Lam.

"I have no doubt that with another game under our belt, we will see a big improvement."

Director of Rugby Les Kiss hands an Ulster debut to second row Kieran Treadwell and rewards 19 year-old Robert Lyttle with a start in Treviso this evening (KO5.05, BBC2NI).

There are half-a-dozen change in total as props Kyle McCall and Rodney Ah You, centre Luke Marshall and full-back Louis Ludik all step up.

Glasgow: S Hogg; L Sarto, A Dunbar, S Johnson, T Seymour; P Horne, H Pyrgos; G Reid, F Brown, S Puafisi, T Swinson, J Gray (capt), R Harley, S Favaro, R Wilson.

Leinster: R Kearney; F McFadden, G Ringrose, N Reid, D Kearney; J Carbery, L McGrath (capt); C Healy, J Tracy, M Bent, M McCarthy, R Molony, D Leavy, J van der Flier, J Murphy.

Verdict: Leinster

  • Pro12: Glasgow v Leinster, Scotstoun, today (KO 3.0, live Sky Sports 3)

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