Match Preview | Leinster
Glasgow Warriors conclude their 2020/21 regular season this weekend, as Danny Wilson’s side welcomes Leinster to Scotstoun in round five of the Guinness Rainbow Cup.
After picking up a maximum 15 points from 15 across the month of May, the Warriors will be looking to do everything possible to put themselves in with a shout of overhauling Benetton and Munster to represent the north in the inaugural Guinness Rainbow Cup Final.
A dominant physical display saw Wilson’s men overpower the Dragons 27-16 last time out, with Kiran McDonald’s last-minute score securing what could prove to be a crucial try bonus-point at the Cardiff City Stadium.
With the three-time defending Guinness PRO14 champions on their way to Glasgow’s west end on Friday night, though, the Warriors can expect a test as tough as any in Europe to end the regular season.
Here’s how the two sides shape up ahead of the match:
Over 5️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ supporters have already registered their interest in a 2021/22 Warrior Nation Membership
— Glasgow Warriors (@GlasgowWarriors) May 29, 2021
Leinster Form Guide
Leo Cullen’s Leinstermen currently sit seventh in the Guinness Rainbow Cup standings, having taken home nine points from their three matches so far.
The Dublin-based outfit misfired on their opening match in the competition, as an inspired Munster outfit took a 27-3 victory at the RDS at the end of April.
A Hugo Keenan hat-trick helped the men in blue get back to winning ways in round two, running in eight tries to claim a 50-21 win over Connacht in Galway.
Ulster were then edged out at the RDS in their most recent outing, a Player of the Match-performance from British and Irish Lion Robbie Henshaw helping Leinster to a 21-17 win.
Rainbow Cup permutations
Resident stats supremo Kevin Millar (@topofthemoongw) has all the permutations ahead of Glasgow’s final Guinness Rainbow Cup outing.
Glasgow: @GlasgowWarriors would need a BP win at home to Leinster with a margin that is at least 52 points higher than Munster manage v Zebre.
eg if Munster win by 20 points, Glasgow would need to beat Leinster by 72 points(!)
— Kevin Millar (@topofthemoonGW) May 30, 2021
As with many teams in 2020/21, it has been a season where Leinster’s young talents have stepped up to make their mark for the province.
Dan Sheehan has been one such player to impress, the hooker scoring two tries on his debut for the Leinstermen in a victory over Zebre in round three of the Guinness PRO14.
Back-rower Alex Soroka has also pulled on a Leinster shirt for the first time this year, continuing the Leinster production line of back-row talents.
Behind the scrum, David Hawkshaw made his debut in November’s clash with Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun, with his versatility seeing him cover both fly-half and centre across the campaign.
Ones to watch
Having earned a first selection for Ireland off the back of his impressive form in a Leinster jersey, Ryan Baird will be prominent across the field if selected on Friday night. The second-rower has fond memories of meetings with Glasgow in the past, having scored a hat-trick on his debut for the province against the Warriors in February 2020.
A key leader for the province, Luke McGrath is also one of Ireland’s shrewdest operators at scrum-half. Still just 28, the Ontario-born number nine is approaching 150 appearances for Leinster since his debut back in 2012.
Considered by many to have been amongst the unluckiest to miss out on British and Irish Lions selection, former Ireland 7s man Keenan has been amongst Leinster’s standout performers in the Guinness Rainbow Cup to date. His hat-trick against Connacht stole the headlines, whilst also constantly threatening opposing defences.
Leinster emerged victorious from both meetings with Glasgow Warriors in the 2020/21 Guinness PRO14, despite Wilson’s men throwing everything at the men from the RDS.
A hard-fought clash at Scotstoun in November saw the visitors take home a 32-19 win, with tries from George Horne, Thomas Gordon and D’arcy Rae – his first in a Glasgow shirt – ultimately proving in vain.
An incident-packed affair at the RDS at the end of February went a similar way, as the hosts weathered a second-half fightback from the Warriors to claim a 40-21 victory.
Frank Murphy takes charge of Glasgow Warriors v Leinster for the second successive outing, having also been the man in the middle for February’s clash at the RDS.
Fin Brown and Graeme Ormiston will be Murphy’s assistants on Friday night, with Andrew McMenemy on hand as the Television Match Official if and when required.
Supporters can watch the match live on Premier Sports 1 this weekend, with kick-off scheduled for 8.15pm on Friday night.
BBC Radio Scotland MW will also be providing live commentary on the night, whilst you can keep up to date with all the build-up and action as it happens in our Live Match Centre at glasgowwarriors.org.