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Roux returns to lift Leinster

Quinn Roux

Leinster v Glasgow Warriors, The RDS, TONIGHT (KO 7.45 – RTé2)

Coach Joe Schmidt certainly has one eye on the present and, maybe, the other on the future.

The most significant selection this evening is that of Quinn Roux ahead of Ireland international Devin Toner in the second row to partner Leo Cullen.

The South African has made a serious impression at Leinster without having the game exposure to back it up due to two serious injuries to his sternum in September and his shoulder in November.

Leinster have to win to move ahead of Glasgow into one of the Top-2 home semi-final positions. It will take a serious performance from a relatively inexperienced crew against in-form Glasgow.

"They are on a hell of a run. They've won seven in a row and bonus points in the last five," said Team Manager Guy Easterby. "They are incredibly strong.

"They have always been a good team at home. But, they are now travelling well and playing well. It is a really tough game for us.

"Glasgow are top of the table. They are two points ahead of us and we've got them at home. That is a huge game in the context of our season.

"We've got the run-ins. We know what ours is. We know what theirs is. We've got some massive games coming up. We are just looking at this weekend and reassess after that.

According to Easterby, Gordon D'Arcy has been "firing" in the lead-in to this evening and will partner Eoin O'Malley in the centre.

Full-back Isa Nacewa will begin his personal journey into retirement. Ian Madigan will be eager to continue his fine form outside the energetic Isaac Boss.

Prop Heinke van der Merwe, also on his way out of town, and flanker Kevin McLaughlin are back from injury with Jordi Murphy again appearing at number eight.

 

Changes

Glasgow coach Gregor Townsend makes six changes. The front row of Moray Low, Dougie Hall and Ed Kalman, lock Tom Ryder, flanker Rob Harley and former Ulster wing Tommy Seymour return.

"We'll need to be at our best if we're to come away with a positive result," said Townsend. "We travel to Dublin having put ourselves in a good position in the league, but nothing is won until May and we still have a lot of work to do."

Their dangers come at half-back, where fly-half Duncan Weir is a goal-kicking threat from short and long distance with an astute tactical brain.

Scrum-half Niko Matawalu has been Glasgow's go-to player in recent weeks, sniping for good yards with a combination of speed and evasion.

"Leinster are the only team to still have a 100 per cent home winning record in the league and that shows just how difficult our task will be this weekend," admitted Townsend.

"For the past few seasons they have been the best in Europe at playing with pace, ambition and aggression. The game on Saturday represents a marker of where we are this season and we are fully aware of the significance of getting a result in Dublin. We will give everything we have to secure a win".

With this in mind, Townsend has at his disposal a cavalry of replacements with international experience, like Ryan Wilson, Henry Pyrgos, Ruaridh Jackson and Sean Lamont.

If Glasgow can stay close, they can make all the difference. Leinster must get ahead early and stay there.

Leinster: I Nacewa; D Kearney, E O'Malley, G D'Arcy, A Conway; I Madigan, I Boss; H van der Merwe, S Cronin, M Bent, L Cullen (capt), Q Roux, K McLaughlin, S Jennings, J Murphy.

Glasgow: P Murchie; T Seymour, A Dunbar, P Horne, DTH van der Merwe; D Weir, N Matawalu; M Low, D Hall, E Kalman, T Ryder, A Kellock (capt), R Harley, J Barclay, J Strauss.


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