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Blues can pass Glasgow test

Coach Michael Cheika must be relieved to see captain for tonight, Shane Jennings, and Jonathan Sexton return to the Leinster fold in time to get much-needed match minutes into their bodies ahead of the fifth round of the Heineken Cup.

First, they must reel in the Magners leaders Glasgow. These Scots are not likely to freeze, like the current weather, in the face of travelling to the home of the Heineken Cup champions.

The inclusion of centre Fergus McFadden and full-back Girvan Dempsey are proof positive of Leinster's strength in depth. But they will want to be close to their best to deal with a sharp visiting backline.

Second row Devin Toner has stalled this season as Leo Cullen and Nathan Hines, his partner for the evening, have provided a barrier to progress. A solid shift could earn a place on the bench against Brive.


The onus, as always, will fall on Brian O'Driscoll to marshall the defence in opposition to Glasgow's quicker, younger men with Rob Kearney curiously placed on the left wing.

Glasgow have signed astutely, groomed young players cleverly and rode the wave of their confidence to stand unapologetically on top of the heap with seven wins and a draw from 10 Magners matches.

The last six meetings between these two teams have all been won by the home side. In addition, Glasgow have never won in 11 previous clashes on Leinster soil in all competitions.

This all points to a home 'W' on the balance of all known probability, but Glasgow are brimming with confidence from remaining unbeaten in their last six in the League.

There couldn't be a better time to beat the hoodoo. The experienced Johnny Beattie steps in for Richie Vernon, a victim of the flu, at number eight in what is otherwise a settled side with Dan Parks playing sensibly.

In other words, the fly-half, on his way to Cardiff Blues at the end of the season, is favouring the percentages over panache, playing for territory, before unleashing a whizzing backline, with the Evans brothers providing a twin threat in more ways than one.

Verdict: Leinster

Leinster: G Dempsey; I Nacewa, B O'Driscoll, F McFadden, R Kearney; J Sexton, E Reddan; C Healy, J Fogarty, S Wright, N Hines, D Toner, K McLaughlin, S Jennings (capt), J Heaslip.

Glasgow: B Stortoni; DTH van der Merwe, M Evans, G Morrison, T Evans; D Parks, C Cusiter; J Welsh, D Hall, M Low, A Kellock (capt), R Gray, K Brown, J Barclay, J Beattie.