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Lancaster's Leinster defence to be tested by dangerous Warriors

The eastern province will be looking for a big impact from their international back three.

LEINSTER WILL NEED to be much-improved on last weekend for their Guinness Pro12 round two clash with Glasgow in Scotstoun this afternoon [KO 3pm, Sky Sports].

Leo Cullen’s men missed out on a bonus point in their 20-8 victory over Treviso in Dublin last time out, while Gregor Townsend’s Warriors were hugely impressive in tearing champions Connacht apart in Galway.

Carbery continues

Perhaps the biggest positive for Leinster last weekend was the performance of out-half Joey Carbery on his first start.

Joey Carbery and Garry Ringrose Carbery will have Garry Ringrose outside him at 13. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The 20-year-old scored two excellent tries – the second from deep in his own half – while also showing that there remain rough edges in his game. The challenge for Leinster is to polish the Clontarf man’s game management without dulling his instincts.

Carbery is a joy to watch, creative and confident with the ball in his hands. His passing game is sharp too, as he regularly invites team-mates onto the ball and into half gaps with his teasing delivery.

His vision allows him to pick out the right kicks but there is still some work to be done on his execution. Defensively, he will look to cut out the type of missed tackle that featured in the build-up to Treviso’s try last weekend.

This clash in Scotstoun clearly represents the biggest challenge of the New Zealand native’s career, but even against world-class opposition he has the confidence to prosper.

International back three out to impress

Dave Kearney returns from his AC joint injury to take a place on Leinster’s left wing and he will naturally be keen to start his season strongly.

Dave Kearney Dave Kearney makes his return from injury. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The Ireland international missed the June tour to South Africa and with competition in the wide spots set to be fierce again internationally, he needs to find his feet fast. Even within Leinster, a player as promising as Adam Byrne can’t make the matchday squad.

On the other edge, Fergus McFadden is another man with much experience and he too will look to stamp his authority on what has traditionally been a top-of-the-table Pro12 clash.

At fullback, Rob Kearney was in good form last weekend against Treviso, building on a promising display in the pre-season defeat to Bath. More than anyone, Kearney needed to show these signs of a revival after a difficult 2015/16 campaign.

Against Glasgow’s clever kicking game, as well as the Scots’ ability to play to the wide channels accurately, Leinster’s international back three must deliver.

Lancaster’s defence

Stuart Lancaster has had less than a week to work with Leinster’s defence before they take on a Glasgow Warriors outfit that has had one of the best attacks in the league for a number of years.

Stuart Lancaster Lancaster started his new job on Monday. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Townsend’s men demonstrated their clever running lines, energetic counter-attack, varied passing game and elusive ball carrying last weekend against Connacht and will look to continue in that vein.

In truth, Lancaster cannot have changed a huge amount in the space of two training sessions with Leinster, and will be reliant on the system Kurt McQuilkin left behind.

Nonetheless, the Englishman will be keen for a strong start in his specific area of coaching for the season. It’s likely that Lancaster will be influential in other sectors, but he will be judged on Leinster’s defensive performances first and foremost.

This afternoon presents a demanding start.

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Leinster:

15. Rob Kearney
14. Fergus McFadden
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Noel Reid
11. Dave Kearney
10. Joey Carbery
9. Luke McGrath (captain)

1. Cian Healy
2. James Tracy
3. Michael Bent
4. Mike McCarthy
5. Ross Molony
6. Dan Leavy
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Jordi Murphy

Replacements:

16. Bryan Byrne
17. Peter Dooley
18. Tadhg Furlong
19. Mick Kearney
20. Dominic Ryan
21. Jamison Gibson Park
22. Cathal Marsh
23. Zane Kirchner

Glasgow:

15. Stuart Hogg
14. Leonardo Sarto
13. Alex Dunbar
12. Sam Johnson
11. Tommy Seymour
10. Peter Horne
9. Henry Pyrgos (co-captain)

1. Gordon Reid
2. Fraser Brown
3. Sila Puafisi
4. Tim Swinson
5. Jonny Gray (co-captain)
6. Rob Harley
7. Simone Favaro
8. Ryan Wilson

Replacements:

16. Corey Flynn
17. Alex Allan
18. Zander Fagerson
19. Tjiuee Uanivi
20. Lewis Wynne
21. Ali Price
22. Rory Clegg
23. Lee Jones

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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