European Champions Cup: Leinster v Glasgow Warriors (Sun)


Leinster beat Glasgow 34-18 in the corresponding fixture between the sides at Scotstoun in October
European Rugby Champions Cup: Leinster v Glasgow Warriors
Venue: RDS, Dublin Date: Sunday, 14 January Kick-off: 13:00 GMT
Coverage: Preview, updates and match report on the BBC Sport website

James Lowe will start Leinster’s European Champions Cup Pool 3 match against Glasgow Warriors at the RDS.

The New Zealand-born winger has yet to play a European game for Leinster, who cannot include more than two Antipodean players in their match-day panel.

Glasgow make six personnel changes but Stuart Hogg does not feature as he nears a return from a hip injury.

Peter Horne, Ali Price, Jamie Bhatti, George Turner, Matt Smith and Adam Ashe all start for Warriors.

An ankle injury for centre Garry Ringrose has paved the way for Lowe’s inclusion in the Leinster backline as team captain Isa Nacewa moves into the midfield alongside Robbie Henshaw.

The former Maori All Black will be joined in the back three by Fergus McFadden and Jordan Larmour, 20, who has been selected at full-back ahead of Rob Kearney following a series of eye-catching performances in recent weeks.

Lowe’s inclusion, along with Australian international lock Scott Fardy, means that deputy scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park has been omitted from the squad, with Nick McCarthy set to provide cover for Luke McGrath.

Tight-head prop Tadhg Furlong has recovered from injury to join Jack McGrath and Sean Cronin in the front-row.

Fardy will be partnered in the second-row by Devin Toner while Jordi Murphy and Josh van der Flier will join Jack Conan in the back-row as Dan Leavy is named on the bench.

Glasgow assistant coach Jonathan Humphreys said Hogg’s participation was “touch and go” and that Warriors “certainly won’t be risking him”.

Horne and Price form a new half-back partnership as Finn Russell drops out and George Horne goes on to the bench.

Prop Bhatti is in for Alex Allan at loose-head, while Turner is back from suspension to take over from Pat MacArthur at hooker.

Matt Fagerson switches from eight to six to accommodate Ashe, who returned from injury as a substitute last time out.

With Jonny Gray dropping out, Harley moves from blind-side flanker to the second row and retains the captaincy while Smith is in for the benched Chris Fusaro at open-side.

“These are the biggest games of the season, Rounds Five and Six, they always are,” said Leinster fly-half Johnny Sexton.

“Generally you’ve always got something to fight for. It’s a massive few weeks ahead.

“It’s always a really exciting time, nervous time as well. There’s obviously a lot riding on the next two weeks, and then there’s selection and keeping your form and fitness. January’s always a big month.”

Warriors have lost all four of their pool matches so far but have been beaten just once in this season’s Pro14.

Glasgow lock Greg Peterson said: “I haven’t been playing much this season and it has been hard watching those European games. It has been a whole other level for us and at times we have probably adapted poorly.

“But this week we have changed our approach and solely focused on ourselves and what we do best in the Pro14.

“We’re really focused on bringing that into the next two games. All the boys selected want to put their best foot forward and these games will put us in good stead for the rest of the Pro14.

“We want to right those wrongs from the games against Leinster and Exeter because they were pretty upsetting results.

“In my history here Leinster has always been a tough match.

“So if we can get one-up on them in the European competition, knock them down a peg and make it harder for them to qualify, so be it.

“We want to try to do everything we can. You always want that bit of mental edge.”

Leinster: J Larmour; F McFadden, R Henshaw, I Nacewa (capt), J Lowe; J Sexton, L McGrath; J McGrath, S Cronin, T Furlong, D Toner, S Fardy, J Murphy, J van der Flier, J Conan.

Replacements: B Byrne, C Healy, A Porter, J Ryan, D Leavy, N McCarthy, R Byrne, R Kearney.

Glasgow: R Jackson; L Jones, H Jones, N Grigg, N Matawalu; P Horne, A Price; J Bhatti, G Turner, S Halanukonuka, R Harley (capt), G Peterson, M Fagerson, M Smith, A Ashe.

Replacements: G Stewart, A Allan, D Rae, K McDonald, C Fusaro, G Horne, B Thomson, H Pyrgos.

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