Friday 18 January 2019

Glasgow's 4G pitch gives them big advantage, insists Dempsey

Leinster backs coach Girvan Dempsey. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Leinster backs coach Girvan Dempsey. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Leinster's trip to Glasgow tomorrow to take on the in-form Scottish side poses all sorts of potential threats and not least because of their artificial surface.

Playing on the 4G pitch is an altogether different challenge and to that end, it was no surprise to learn that Leinster trained in Donnybrook this week.

Dave Rennie had hit the ground running in the Guinness PRO14 since taking over from Gregor Townsend but defeat in Exeter last week has left Glasgow already playing catch-up in the Champions Cup.


Playing a faster track may well suit Leinster but backs coach Girvan Dempsey is mindful of how strong Glasgow are in their own back yard.

"It's an advantage for them," Dempsey says of their pitch.

"Look at them at home, they have scored on average 30-plus points at home and they don't concede either. I think they have only conceded four tries at home this year.

"Their first loss was last weekend against Exeter so they are a strong side defensively and they like the pitch."

A tough challenge may lie ahead but it's one that Leinster will go into full of confidence after impressively dispatching a Montpellier side full of internationals.

Glasgow, however, know that they can ill afford another slip in Europe and Dempsey is fully expecting Rennie to get a response out of his players.

"Dave Rennie has evolved what Gregor (Townsend) was doing with them and brought some of the Chiefs stuff," he maintains.

"It is very evident in terms of the tempo, in terms of the how they are trying to play. Having come across him before he's big in breakdowns.

"They have huge emphasis on breakdowns. (Callum) Gibbons at number 7 has been a big asset to them this year.

"He (Rennie) was excellent in terms of the Chiefs, the culture. He was clear in terms of how he wanted the game played and wanted the players to play and express themselves and play with tempo and play with width and keep the ball alive... you'll see the offloads and stuff.

"That's why the pitch suits them. James Lowe (former Chiefs) when he arrives, he'll give you the same. He was given a free licence to do those things.

"You'll see that's what they want to do. They were confident their break was good and they wanted quick ball to allow them to play with tempo.

"In terms of the intensity, Glasgow have always been an offloading team. I think they have brought it on this year, they have brought an edge to their game particularly all the time."

Despite Leinster getting the job done against Montpellier last week, it was far from flawless, which is what made their bonus-point victory all the more impressive.

There is still plenty for them to work on ahead of tomorrow's clash and Dempsey insists that his side need to be more accurate.

"I think we can't afford to give a team like Glasgow that amount of opportunities," the former full-back adds.

"We recognise that we kicked a little bit loosely to Montpellier and we can't afford to do that to Glasgow, they're more clinical than Montpellier in terms of how they play with Tommy Seymour and Ruaridh Jackson at full-back, they're very dangerous.


"Finn Russell runs a good game, so you can't afford to give them cheap ball.

"What they live on, particularly from looking back on the Chiefs, they live off cheap turnovers, they live off poor kicks and love to counter-attack. You can't give them easy entry into our half.

"It's no real difference from some of the games we've played over the last few weeks, because they're very clinical.

"Defensively our effort was phenomenal in terms of the strength of what Montpellier had in terms of the size of the players, but a few tweaks in a few areas - we can't afford to leak those to Glasgow."

Irish Independent

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