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Madigan has much to gain

Leinster v Glasgow Warriors

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Coach Matt O'Connor has cited his previous experience at dealing with the exodus of England internationals from his Leicester Tigers as relevant to the issues he has to deal with at Leinster.

"The experience at Leicester is hugely beneficial," he said.

"The philosophy is fairly similar at Leinster to Tigers. It's about the guys who are in the environment who make the difference, not the guys who aren't here."

Ian Madigan is one man with everything to gain. He has wisely kept his counsel, while Jimmy Gopperth has played for more of Leinster's Heineken Cup matches, especially the last two rounds.

This was at a time when Madigan could have put real heat on Paddy Jackson for the role of understudy to Jonathan Sexton. His hard work could still pay off this season.

"Professional rugby is such that you lose guys to injury and various reasons throughout the course of the season, so you've got to be able to cope with it," said O'Connor.

"You'll lose a significant chunk of your group and you need to upskill those blokes to be ready to fit in as seamlessly as possible."

Luckily, Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has not taken a precious attitude to the game time of those who need minutes in play. This means O'Connor can put out a front row of Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin and Marty Moore, with Mike Ross on the bench.

There is also the keen-to-impress Luke Fitzgerald and Eoin Reddan, both still holding out hopes for the Six Nations, and Fergus McFadden looking to fine-tune his skills at outside centre.


"Thankfully, through November and the Six Nations we've been pretty good injury-wise, which has given us the ability to keep chugging along and get some really important wins," added O'Connor.

It was during the November internationals that Jordi Murphy kicked on. He will line out at number eight here.

This is not to forget the fine form of Rhys Ruddock at blindside, where Peter O'Mahony is not guaranteed to be fit to face Italy next week.

The Warriors have become unstable as games have fallen to weather and they lost their unbeaten away record by a point at the Dragons last week.

Their coach, Gregor Townsend, sees this as a chance to rebound: "We were very disappointed to lose at the Dragons last weekend.

"We'll need a much better performance tomorrow night in Dublin. Leinster are one of the top teams in the league and are the defending champions, so this game will give us a good indication of where we are as a team."

Glasgow have also been able to reload some of their bigger weapons from Scotland, released by their national coach, Scott Johnson.

"It's great to have Peter Murchie back involved again after his injury lay-off and we've also been boosted this week by the return of Tommy Seymour, Chris Cusiter and Tim Swinson from the Scotland squad," said Townsend.

"Our recent encounters have all been very close and we're expecting another tight match tomorrow night."

Leinster: Z Kirchner; D Fanning, F McFadden, N Reid, L Fitzgerald; I Madigan, E Reddan; J McGrath, S Cronin, M Moore, L Cullen (capt), M McCarthy, R Ruddock, S Jennings, J Murphy.

Glasgow Warriors: P Murchie; T Seymour, R Vernon, F Russell, N Matawalu; R Jackson, C Cusiter (capt); G Reid, P MacArthur, M Cusack, T Swinson, J Gray, J Eddie, R Harley, J Strauss.