Wednesday 18 October 2017

Leinster to keep rolling as Hagan watches on

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

AFTER impressing against the Scarlets and being called up to scrummage with the Ireland squad this week, Jamie Hagan finds himself back on the Leinster bench this evening.

The prop has had a difficult season. He left Connacht for his home province last summer with the prospect of bigger things ahead. Instead, he has had to put up with Pro12 backwaters and the British and Irish Cup, while his former club were taking on Europe's elite.

Every time Hagan has put his head above water, he has found it dunked back down again and this evening he watches on as Connacht-bound Nathan White starts in his place.

The tighthead prop was focusing on the positives this week as he was asked to rate his season so far, but his frustration lies just below the surface. "It was a big transition coming from Connacht last year," he said.

"Obviously, Leinster play a different brand of rugby to Connacht, but I'm just taking it week on week. I can't really rate my year because my year isn't over yet."

So, does he regret making the move? "Hindsight is a great thing," he admitted.

"When I left Connacht they were going to be in the Amlin, but then Leinster won the Heineken Cup. I don't want to take anything away from Connacht. They've had a great season in the Heineken Cup finishing up with that famous win over Harlequins. But I have played Heineken Cup rugby this year, I played against Montpellier and hopefully, that experience will stand to me in the long run.

"The competition isn't just with Nathan, it's with Rossy (Mike Ross) as well. Everybody in this squad has competition.

"The quality at Leinster is insane. It's a healthy competition and good for all of us, because it keeps us on our toes."

Joe Schmidt shuffles his deck and yet again there is no place for Luke Fitzgerald. The Lion trained this week, but his lack of fitness remains a mystery and he has now missed two full months of rugby.

Dave Kearney starts on the right wing outside Colm O'Shea and Brendan Macken, who resume the partnership that looked good against Treviso, while Ian Madigan has another chance to impress at out-half. Youngster Mark Flanagan starts ahead of his cousin Devin Toner in the second-row, while Dominic Ryan gets his first start at blindside since returning from injury. Shane Jennings captains the side from openside.

Firhill is a tough place to visit, particularly when under strength, but Leinster are on a roll and showing no signs of slowing up.

Verdict: Leinster

GLASGOW WARRIORS -- P Murchie; D Lemi, A Dunbar, T Nathan, C Shaw; R Jackson, H Pyrgos; R Grant, P MacArthur, M Cusack; N Campbell, T Ryder; R Harley (capt), C Fusaro, R Wilson. Reps: D Hall, J Welsh, G Reid, R Verbakel, C Forrester, S Wright, F Aramburu, T Seymour.

LEINSTER -- I Nacewa; D Kearney, B Macken, C O'Shea, F Carr; I Madigan, I Boss; H van der Merwe, R Strauss, N White; D Browne, M Flanagan; D Ryan, S Jennings (capt), L Auva'a. Reps: A Dundon, J McGrath, J Hagan, D Toner, J Murphy, J Cooney, E O'Malley, A Conway.

REF -- J Lacey (IRFU).

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