WITH HIS HEAVY artillery away on international duty, Joe Schmidt has turned to his young guns to keep Leinster’s unbeaten streak ticking over when they take on the Glasgow Warriors tomorrow night.
Leinster’s last defeat was a shock reversal against Glasgow in the RDS last September, and they come into the game unbeaten in their last 18 games in all competitions since.
The absence of Gordon D’Arcy and Fergus McFadden means that the baby-faced partnership of Colm O’Shea and Brendan Macken is given another opportunity to shine in midfield, while Isa Nacewa adds an experienced head to the back three alongside David Kearney and Fionn Carr.
Ian Madigan, top tryscorer in the Pro12 with six so far this season, joins Isaac Boss in the half-backs again. In the pack, Mark Flanagan is preferred to Devin Toner in the second row and wins just his sixth cap for the province.
Andrew Conway is passed fit to take his place among the replacements but once again, the game comes too soon for Luke Fitzgerald who continues his rehabilitation following a neck injury.
Meanwhile, Glasgow coach Sean Lineen has made four changes to side which were held to a draw by Connacht in the Sportsgrounds last weekend.
In the backs, Alex Dunbar comes in at outside centre in place of Graeme Morrison, who is on international duty in Murrayfield on Sunday, and Tommy Seymour drops to the bench with Colin Shaw taking his place his wing.
Up front, Mike Cusack makes his return at tighthead after almost two months out with an ankle injury, and Nick Campbell replaces Rob Verbakel in the second row.
“They’ve got a big squad with top players right throughout it. Their rugby is the definition of relentless and they punish every mistake,” Lineen told the club’s official site.
“We know our individual decision-making has to be spot on, and our composure right up there with anything we’ve produced so far this season.”
Glasgow Warriors: Murchie; Lemi, Dunbar, Nathan, Shaw; Jackson, Pyrgos; Grant, MacArthur, Cusack; Campbell, Ryder; Harley (c), Fusaro, Wilson. Replacements: Hall, Welsh, Reid, Verbakel, Forrester, Wight, Aramburu, Seymour.
Leinster: Nacewa; D Kearney, Macken, O’Shea, Carr; Madigan, Boss; Van der Merwe, Strauss, White; Browne, Flanagan; Ryan, Jennings (c), Auva’a. Replacements: Dundon, McGrath, Hagan, Toner, Murphy, Cooney, O’Malley, Conway.