Townsend Makes Six Changes For Leinster

Gregor Townsend has made six personnel changes and one positional switch to the team that defeated Cardiff Blues earlier this month, as the Warriors prepare to travel to Dublin to face Leinster at the RDS on Saturday night.

The RaboDirect PRO12 returns after a three-week break and the Warriors are looking for their eighth league win in a row, which has seen them move to the top of the PRO12 on points difference ahead of Ulster.

Tommy Seymour, Rob Harley, Tom Ryder, Ed Kalman, Dougie Hall and Moray Low all come into the starting XV, while Jon Welsh, Pat MacArthur, Gordon Reid and Ryan Wilson drop to the bench. Byron McGuigan and Tim Swinson are not included in the 23-man squad.

Glasgow Warriors and Leinster are currently the form teams in the league, with the Warriors having dropped just one possible league point and Leinster only two in their last six games.

Warriors head coach, Gregor Townsend said: "We have been on a fantastic run of form lately, but Leinster will provide an extremely tough challenge for us and we"ll need to be at our best if we"re to come away with a positive result.

It's been good to have our full squad back together again after the Six Nations and training has been very competitive and sharp this week. 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."

Matawalu keeps the number nine jersey and Weir is given the nod at fly-half ahead of Ruaridh Jackson, after starting the last two of Scotland's games against Ireland and France.

Exciting youngsters Peter Horne and Alex Dunbar continue their centre partnership, with Peter Murchie once again deployed at full-back.

Canadian winger DTH van der Merwe starts on the left wing, with Seymour replacing McGuigan on the opposite side.

Low and Kalman make up the front row, with the experienced Hall coming in at hooker and captain Al Kellock starting alongside Ryder in the second row.

Josh Strauss moves from flanker to number eight, in place of substitute Wilson, while John Barclay continues at openside and Harley comes in at blindside.

It is a strong bench with Pat MacArthur, Gordon Reid, Jon Welsh, James Eddie, Ryan Wilson, Henry Pyrgos, Ruaridh Jackson and Sean Lamont all included.

It is an experienced Warriors squad to face Leinster, with 279 Scotland caps in the matchday 23.

Stuart Hogg and Sean Maitland both miss the game after picking up knocks with Scotland, but are expected to return within the next week or two. Chris Cusiter has had a setback and may require an operation on his shoulder and Finlay Gillies requires neck surgery, with them both expected to be out of action for a number of months.

Gregor Townsend said: "Leinster are the only team to still have a 100 percent home winning record in the league and that shows just how difficult our task will be this weekend. For the past few seasons they have been the best in Europe at playing with pace, ambition and aggression.

"We have picked a team which we believe is capable of winning the game but we have a number of players who are unlucky not to be involved. Those selected must grab the opportunity to play in such an important fixture with both hands. They have to make it very difficult for me to leave them out next week.

We are disappointed that both Chris (Cusiter) and Finlay (Gillies) will be out beyond the end of the season. It's been a really frustrating time for both players and we wish them a speedy recovery.

'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."

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Glasgow Warriors team to play Leinster in Round 18 of the RaboDirect PRO12, RDS, Saturday 23 March (kick-off, 7.45pm):

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15 Peter Murchie

14 Tommy Seymour

13 Alex Dunbar

12 Peter Horne

11 DTH Van der Merwe

10 Duncan Weir

9 Niko Matawalu

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1 Moray Low

2 Dougie Hall

3 Ed Kalman

4 Tom Ryder

5 Al Kellock (Captain)

6 Rob Harley

7 John Barclay

8 Josh Strauss

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16 Pat MacArthur

17 Gordon Reid

18 Jon Welsh

19 James Eddie

20 Ryan Wilson

21 Henry Pyrgos

22 Ruaridh Jackson

23 Sean Lamont

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Not available for selection through injury:

 

M Cusack (shoulder), C Fusaro (groin), F Gillies (neck), S Hogg (knee), S Maitland (leg injury), R Lamont (ankle), C Cusiter (shoulder)