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Glasgow Warriors v Leinster: Head to head

Charlie Talbot-Smith

3 Nov 2017

Round eight of the Guinness PRO14 pits two of the competition’s top sides against each other.

Glasgow Warriors are unbeaten, a perfect seven from seven, and sit top of Conference A as they welcome Leinster to Scotstoun on Friday night.

But Leo Cullen’s Irish province will arrive in Glasgow with absolutely no fear, considering only last month they went there in Europe and made off with a win.

And ahead of the autumn internationals, this is a last chance for players to lay down a marker to international coaches watching on.

And here we pick out a couple of key head to heads, one in the backs and one in the forwards, that might decide where this game is won and lost.

Jordi Murphy v Callum Gibbins

The strength in depth in the Leinster back row is such that four of them alone made it into Ireland’s autumn squad.

The lucky four were Rhys Ruddock, Jack Conan, Dan Leavy and British & Irish Lion Sean O’Brien – while Jamie Heaslip and Josh van der Flier would surely have been in if not for injury.

That leaves Jordi Murphy on the outside looking in, the man who started in the No.7 jersey and scored a try as Ireland downed the All Blacks for the first time in their history this time last year.

But after an ACL injury it has been a long road back for the Spanish-born flanker who in round four of the Guinness PRO14 against Edinburgh started his first game at the RDS in over 13 months.

Up against him this weekend will be Callum Gibbins, the Kiwi flanker who has hit the ground running under Rennie at the Warriors.

Two tries in their dramatic round six win over the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein capped a memorable first round of games for the former Hurricane.

And while Europe did not exactly go to plan for the Warriors, the flanker will be desperate to get one up on Murphy and continue their perfect start.

Jordan Larmour v Nikola Matawalu

Jordan Larmour was the star for Ireland Under-20s last year but has had to bide his time in the blue of Leinster.

However when Noel Reid went down inside five minutes at the Kingspan Stadium against Ulster last Saturday, Larmour was thrust straight into the action.

But the youngster was undaunted, scoring a magnificent solo try and impressing in the centres although he is equally adept on the wing and at full-back.

With Garry Ringrose and Robbie Henshaw both 24 or less, the back three could end up being where Larmour cements himself for Leinster and Ireland.

This weekend he will wear No.15 and his defensive instincts are sure to be tested against the mercurial Nikola Matawalu.

Equally comfortable at scrum-half, Matawalu was sublime last weekend on the wing for the Warriors against the Kings.

 

The Fijian, back in Glasgow after spells with Bath and Exeter, beat six defenders and scored a try in their bonus-point win.