Thursday 19 September 2019

Glasgow aim to put the heat on Sexton


Jonathan Sexton of Leinster. Photo: Sportsfile
Jonathan Sexton of Leinster. Photo: Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Glasgow Warriors coach Dave Rennie says his side must put Johnny Sexton "under a bit of heat" in order to derail Leinster in this lunchtime's pivotal Champions Cup clash between the sides.

The Scots are in need of a win in order to stay in touch in Pool 3 as their visitors aim to consolidate their position after a bonus-point win over Montpellier last Saturday.

Sexton returns to captain the team after overcoming his dead leg, but the province have been hit with a blow, with Isa Nacewa ruled out for six weeks after undergoing ankle surgery. Sean O'Brien is fit enough to travel but not play.

Sean Cronin and Cian Healy start as Scott Fardy returns to the second-row, and Fergus McFadden replaces Adam Byrne. Noel Reid comes in for Nacewa at inside-centre.

Glasgow welcome back Lions full-back Stuart Hogg for the first time this season, and New Zealander Rennie says the key to winning is disrupting captain Sexton.

"He's very experienced," the former Chiefs coach said. "He has been a great player for Ireland for many years and for Leinster. He has a massive influence on their side. We're going to have to put him under a bit of heat and hopefully unsettle their rhythm."

Leinster coach Leo Cullen is anticipating a difficult afternoon in Scotstoun, but despite the forecast rain, his side are out to make a statement.

"Conditions are going to be quite difficult so we need to be braced for that ," he said. "We're going there to win."

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Ireland captain Rory Best will make his seasonal bow off the bench for Ulster in La Rochelle tomorrow, while Ian Keatley starts in Tyler Bleyendaal's absence for Munster against Racing 92 this evening as Jean Kleyn returns.

Meanwhile, the IRFU have said they regret any upset caused by their decision to advertise the vacant post as Ireland Women's coach as a six-month part-time role.

The union deny that they are down-grading the job and say a full review of 15-a-side structures is ongoing, and a long-term decision on the coach will take place after the Six Nations.

The initial decision had not gone down well with current players, including captain Claire Molloy, who described it as "disappointing".

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