RaboDirect Pro12: Gregor Townsend issues Glasgow Warriors rallying cry
RaboDirect Pro12: Gregor Townsend issues a rallying cry ahead of Glasgow's clash at Leinster
Gregor Townsend has called on his Glasgow Warriors to front up for tonight’s match against Leinster at the RDS.
The Scottish club head to Dublin on the back of a disappointing 24-23 defeat to Newport Gwent Dragons last Sunday with a dismal record in the Irish province, winning just once in 18 visits.
“We have to go there with physicality,” Townsend said. “We’ve had really good games against Leinster in the last couple of seasons. We’re getting closer and closer to beating them, with the [Pro12] semi-final [last May] then we managed to beat them at the beginning of the season.
“The games have been great games to watch, really physical around the breakdown. We know we have to front up in that area, because Leinster are one of the best attacking teams in Europe and if you give them quick ball you’ll get damaged.”
Currently second in the Pro12, Leinster have been in free-scoring form of late, racking up their sixth try-scoring bonus point of the season against Cardiff Blues last time out despite many of their star players away on international duty.
Matt O’Connor has made 10 changes to his Leinster side with Glasgow looking for a win to boost their play-off hopes before their games in hand.
Both clubs are boosted by the return of international players, and Townsend is delighted to welcome back lock Tim Swinson, scrum-half Chris Cusiter and wing Tommy Seymour from the Scotland camp.
“It’s great for them that they get to play,” Townsend added. “Two weeks ago when we played Cardiff they had Sam Warburton and Gethin Jenkins playing and it really helped them – they played excellent the week later against France.
“Tommy hadn’t played much rugby going into the Six Nations – he’d been injured. We’d released him to play for Stirling and he only lasted a half, he had a dead leg. He’s looked sharp in training. It’s good for us and also good for Scotland and good for Tommy that he gets a high-level game.
“On paper it’s our biggest game of the season against the reigning champions away from home. A team that’s in great form as well and we’re delighted to welcome back players released from Scotland and players coming back from injury, especially Peter Murchie.
“It’s been a really good training week – really sharp. It was a lot better than last week’s team run.
“[Murchie] been excellent in his rehab. He was potentially an option last week, but we decided with him and the medics that another week would do him a lot of good, so he did full training last week, came through it well, but this week is right for him.”
Townsend continues to juggle his backs following Murchie’s return for his first game since October at full-back.
Scotland international Ruaridh Jackson switches to outside-half after an outing at 15 last week with flying Fijian Niko Matawalu switching to the left wing as Cusiter captain the side from scrum-half.
Finn Russell switches from outside-half to centre to partner Richie Vernon with Seymour replacing Lee Jones on the right wing.
In the forwards Pat MacArthur returns at hooker with props Gordon Reid and Mke Cusack either side. Swinson returns to the second row alongside Jonny Gray with James Eddie and Rob Harley either side of Josh Stauss in the back row.