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Glasgow Warriors vs Leinster Rugby
Pro 14 Final
Celtic Park, Glasgow
Saturday, 25th April 2019, 18:30

TV: Live on Eir Sports/TG4

Another final, another soccer stadium.

This time it's Celtic Park in Glasgow where Leinster will be hosted in the home town of the Warriors, looking to make back to back Pro14 titles. In truth Leinster probably need to win for the season to be judged a success after the high of the double last season.

However, they take on a Warriors team bang in form having won their last nine year league games in a row scoring tries for fun. Last week they simply took Ulster to the cleaners getting on top early and then just racking up the points with some truly inventive and clever rugby. However the one match that happened during this run that isn't being mentioned so much was their quarter-final defeat to Saracens when they took an awful 56-27 hiding. Now it's no disgrace to lose to Saracens as Leinster sadly know only too well but the manner and the margin of defeat would suggest that Glasgow still struggle to compete with the more powerful sides in European rugby.

Glasgow beat Leinster last month in their only meeting of the season. They scored a late intercept try to make the final score 39-24 but Glasgow had been at full-strength while Leinster were playing a dead rubber match with a weakened side. Despite the final score, Leinster had actually competed very well and were leading after 60 minutes and scored four tries. So Leinster will fancy their chances, with their full strength side, that they can overpower Glasgow just like they did in the Heineken Cup pool matches last season. Glasgow's backs are dazzling no doubt, but like any backline, they struggle if they don't have the ball.

Glasgow coach Dave Rennie has overcome a disappointing first season in charge to get the Warriors playing some excellent rugby this season. He's also tried to implement a harder, more physical edge up front with the likes of the Fagerson brothers, Jonny Gray and skipper Calum Gibbins leading the way. He'll be looking for them to at least break even with the Leinster pack to give his backs a chance. Rennie has named an unchanged team from last week with star full-back Stuart Hogg looking to go out on a high before he takes the Exeter shilling next season.

For Leinster it was a case of getting back on the horse last week and Munster provided a game but limited challenge which they overcame comfortably enough in the end. However Glasgow will prove tougher opponents especially with the bulk of the crowd cheering them on. Leo Cullen has made just three changes to the starting side with the expected recall of skipper Johnny Sexton who will be looking to prove a point after Ross Byrne went so well last week.

Rob Kearney is fit to play what could well be his last game for Leinster so he returns at full back with Jordan Larmour reverting to the right wing. The other change is injury enforced as the unfortunate Devin Toner is replaced by Scott Fardy in the second row. Ross Molony is fit to return to a bench that also sees Ed Byrne and Max Deegan included. Injury means Sean O'Brien has played his final game for Leinster.

It's going to be a tough battle for Leinster, but if they can get a grip on the game early and quieten the crowd down then they can claim a sixth Pro14 title.

Team Lineups

Glasgow Warriors

Leinster Rugby
Teams Stuart Hogg 15 Rob Kearney
Tommy Seymour 14 Jordan Larmour
Kyle Steyn 13 Garry Ringrose
Sam Johnson 12 Robbie Henshaw
DTH van der Merwe 11 James Lowe
Adam Hastings 10 Johnny Sexton (C)
Ali Price 9 Luke McGrath

Jamie Bhatti 1 Cian Healy
Fraser Brown 2 Sean Cronin
Zander Fagerson 3 Tadhg Furlong
Scott Cummings 4 Scott Fardy
Jonny Gray 5 James Ryan
Rob Harley 6 Rhys Ruddock
Callum Gibbins (C) 7 Josh van der Flier
Matt Fagerson 8 Jack Conan

Replacements Grant Stewart 16 Bryan Byrne
Oli Kebble 17 Ed Byrne
Siua Halnukonuka 18 Andrew Porter
Ryan Wilson 19 Ross Molony
Tom Gordon 20
Max Deegan
George Horne 21 Nick McCarthy
Pete Horne 22 Ross Byrne
Huw Jones 23 Rory O'Loughlin

Not Considered
due to Injury
Bruce Flockhart,
Chris Fusaro,
Matt Smith,
Tim Swinson
George Turner

Dan Leavy,
Joe Tomane,
Mick Kearney,
Adam Byrne,
Devin Toner,
Barry Daly,
Sean O'Brien
Officials Referee: Nigel Owens,
Assistant Referees: Mike Adamson (SRU), John Lacey (IRFU),
TMO: Ian Davies (WRU)

by Jim O'Connor, © 2019-05-24