| 11.4°C Dublin

Heaslip primed for comeback

Ireland number eight Jamie Heaslip should make a dramatic return to action for Leinster against Glasgow Warriors on the opening night of the Magners League tomorrow.

The man last seen in action in June, when he was sent off in New Zealand after kneeing All Black captain Richie McCaw, has been included in the squad to face the Warriors at Firhill.

Hooker John Fogarty and wing Shane Horgan will also provide much needed experience in what will be a baptism of fire for the younger players trusted with getting Leinster off to a winning start.

Of course, Heaslip must be eager to get back on the pitch since his rush-of-blood tackle on McCaw, which earned a five-week ban and a degree of attention from the New Zealand media which he compared to "a murder trial".

There was further good news in the announcement of the signing of tight-head prop Ben Prescott from English club Nottingham in a clear move to soften the blow of losing Stan Wright to an Achilles injury.

The 32-year-old Irish-qualified front-rower, who was born in Libya, weighs in at a compact 17 stones and six-feet tall. He was named on the English National Division One Team of the Year last season and has previously played for Glasgow and Rotherham.

Leinster manager Guy Easterby said: "We are pleased to complete a deal for Ben and he will add further competition to the pack, especially in light of the unfortunate long-term injury to Stan Wright.

"Ben trained with the squad this week. We are confident that his experience and ability will be a welcome addition to the panel for the remainder of the season," he said.

Meanwhile, Glasgow coach Sean Lineen is brimming with enthusiasm following his team's move to a new training ground.

"It's the most satisfying pre-season I've had as a head coach. We're training at Scotstoun now so we've been able to do a lot more coaching," he said.

"We know it's going to be a massive physical test against Leinster. It's always a good battle with them. They've got a lot of youngsters as well but they've also got plenty of experience. The back-row, which I rate very highly, is their weapon."

With injuries to some key personnel in the Glasgow squad, Lineen has been impressed with the application of some of his younger charges, particularly second-row Richie Gray, whose task it is to fill the void left by Magners League Dream Team captain Alastair Kellock.

Puma Bernardo Stortoni will captain the Warriors from full-back, with Graeme Morrison and Max Evans forming a solid centre partnership outside Ruaridh Jackson, the man charged with stepping into the shoes of Dan Parks, who left to join the Cardiff Blues.

Glasgow: B Stortoni (capt); DTH van der Merwe, M Evans, G Morrison, F Aramburu; R Jackson, H Pyrgos; J Welsh, F Thomson, M Low, T Ryder, R Gray, R Wilson, C Fusaro, R Vernon.


Privacy