Glasgow Warriors know Leinster are hurting as coach opens up on 'honest review'

Much is made of Leinster’s strength in depth, but Glasgow Warriors will be hoping the emotional toll of the Irish side’s gut-wrenching defeat in the Heineken Champions Cup final can play into their hands this weekend

Agony for Johnny Sexton after Leinster's Heineken Champions Cup final defeat by La Rochelle in Marseille. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Agony for Johnny Sexton after Leinster's Heineken Champions Cup final defeat by La Rochelle in Marseille. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Leo Cullen’s side went into the European showpiece as overwhelming favourites and led La Rochelle with 17 seconds left on the clock only for Arthur Retiere to squirm his way over for the winning try.

Being mugged in Marseille was a harrowing experience for Leinster, who have little time to regroup ahead of Saturday’s United Rugby Championship quarter-final against Glasgow in Dublin.

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The hosts are the top-ranked side left in the competition and will once again be big favourites as they look to add the inaugural URC title to the Pro14 crowns they have won in each of the last four seasons.

While Pete Murchie, Glasgow’s assistant coach, thinks the La Rochelle defeat will have created some despondency in the Leinster camp he is unsure how it will affect their approach and team selection.

“Oh they’ll be down. They’ve lost the Champions Cup final,” Murchie said. “They’ll be disappointed. But we can’t second guess how they’re going to approach it. But we know they’ll be motivated as it’s a quarter-final.

“La Rochelle were massive underdogs going into that game. Leinster may roll out a similar team or they may make changes. Either way they’ve got players they can mix and match throughout the season, send out an entirely different squad. They sent out a completely different 23 almost against Munster the week before the La Rochelle game.”

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Sam Johnson is one of several Glasgow Warriors players with experience of beating Leinster in Dublin. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group / SRU)

Glasgow are looking to bounce back from a harrowing defeat of their own and Murchie admitted there had been some robust in-house discussions in the aftermath of the loss to Edinburgh at Murrayfield.

“We were really disappointed as a group,” said Murchie. “We had an honest review and I feel that everyone was hurt by that result and want to put it right. We have to remind ourselves that it’s a quarter-final and we have to see a reaction. We’ll have to be at our best and put in a good performance if we’re going to win.”

Glasgow beat Leinster at Scotstoun this time last year but you have to go back to 2019 for their last win in Dublin. There are many survivors from that game in the current Warriors squad, with Sam Johnson, Ali Price, George Horne, Jamie Bhatti, Grant Stewart, Zander Fagerson, Rob Harley, Matt Fagerson, Kyle Steyn, Fraser Brown and Scott Cummings all involved in the 39-24 bonus-point victory.

Unfortunately for Glasgow, the latter four are injured but there are plenty in the squad with experience of winning at the RDS.

Glasgow Warriors assistant coach Pete Murchie said there had been honest discussions after the Edinburgh defeat. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

“Some of the players have brought it up, and we’re building that up through the week,“ added Murchie. “It’s a Saturday game so you try to build the atmosphere as the week goes on. We’ve had a tough run of results but let’s not forget we’re in a quarter-final. We’ve had our ups and downs throughout the season but we’re here now so lets give it absolutely everything.”

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