Leinster look to tee up second final
May 11, 2012
Leinster's Joe Schmidt will hope that his star fly-half Jonny Sexton is firing when they meet Glasgow on Saturday © Getty Images
RaboDirect PRO12 surprise package Glasgow Warriors travel to Dublin on Saturday to face Leinster in the semi-finals of the tournament.
Leinster, who are fighting on two fronts after booking their place in the final of the Heineken Cup, dominated the PRO12 over the duration of the 2011-12 season as they finished top of the league by a huge margin of 10 points. They lost just three matches in the league and were consistently the top side in the division.
Glasgow, meanwhile, left it late to book their spot in the play-offs with their 24-3 win over Connacht in the last round of matches enough to cement their fourth-placed finish. But when it comes to Glasgow's match-ups with Leinster this season, they hold the advantage. The pair drew 10-10 in Glasgow in February but Glasgow prevailed in Dublin 23-19 back in September.
Leinster - Player to Watch: Brian O'Driscoll and Jonathan Sexton are both out injured for Leinster so it will be Isa Nacewa who the home side will hope sparks his team into action. He is playing his 100th game for Leinster at the weekend and will look to steer his side into the final.
Leinster - Team News: Nacewa starts at fullback in place of the injured Rob Kearney with David Kearney and Fergus McFadden starting on the wing. Eoin O'Malley and Gordon D'Arcy form the centres with Sexton starting at fly-half alongside Eoin Reddan. Cian Healy, Richardt Strauss and Mike Ross form the front-row with Brad Thorn and Devin Toner in the second-row. Sean O'Brien, Shane Jennings and Jamie Heaslip are the chosen back-row.
Glasgow Warriors - Player to Watch: Stuart Hogg scooped the PRO12 Young Player of the Year Award on Sunday evening and this is the sort of stage where he excels. Expect big things from the young Warriors fullback.
Glasgow Warriors - Team News: Warriors coach Sean Lineen has made five changes to the side that beat Connacht. Chris Cusiter comes in at scrum-half with the other changes all occuring in the pack. Ryan Grant, Pat MacArthur and Mike Cusack form a new front-row while Al Kellock captains the side from lock.
Key Battle: Al Kellock will face a massive task in the second-row when he comes up against Brad Thorn. Both teams pride themselves on the set-piece so expect that to be a hotly contested battle.
Trivia: Only one Scottish side have made the final of the Celtic League since the 2001-02 season - Edinburgh back in 2008-09.
Stats: Jonathan Sexton is the PRO12's most consistent kicker this term with a success rate of 90% from 30 kicks.
"They are obviously a really strong side. They have got a lot of talent throughout the squad in Kellock, Gray, Weir, Dunbar, guys like that. We are obviously going to have to be aware." - Dave Kearney is aware of the threats Glasgow pose
"Once again, we're expecting the intensity and pace of the game to be Test level, and that's where the combined efforts of the starting XV and a strong bench can really come into their own." - Warriors coach Sean Lineen previews the clash
Prediction: Leinster will have too much in their arsenal and will see off the threat of the Warriors by a 10 point margin.
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