Leinster v Glasgow Warriors: Danny Wilson says league table shows Leinster are beatable as coach makes big call at flanker

Leinster’s domination of the old Pro14 has burnished their reputation, but Danny Wilson was keen to highlight the fact that Glasgow Warriors’ opponents in the United Rugby Championship quarter-finals are anything but invincible.

Gregor Brown will start for Glasgow Warriors against Leinster in Dublin. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Gregor Brown will start for Glasgow Warriors against Leinster in Dublin. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

Leo Cullen’s side have lost five times in the URC this season, with Ulster (twice), Cardiff, the Sharks and the Stormers all getting the better of last weekend’s beaten European cup finalists.

Wilson knows his own side are in midst of a wretched run of four straight losses and have an aversion to winning away games but the Glasgow coach still believes they can spring a surprise in Dublin on Saturday against the team that finished top of the URC.

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It is exactly a year since the Warriors beat Leinster at Scotstoun in the Rainbow Cup and Wilson has this week been reminding his players.

“The last game of last season we beat Leinster here,” he said. “In recent times Glasgow have gone to Leinster and won against strong teams. Leinster are obviously a very good side, we know that and they finished top for a reason. But I told the boys that there was only three wins difference between us and Leinster in the league. They had 13 wins to our 10.

“The games they lost were lost late on in tight matches and that gives us confidence that they are not a side that are unbeaten. They were beaten again at the weekend. There is a whole host of reasons why I think we can go there and win.

“The challenge has been improving our away record. I’m sorry to harp on about it, but that is the reality and it is no bigger challenge than going to Leinster as underdogs. We have a free shot to go there and have a real crack in a game where maybe not a lot of people give us a huge chance.”

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Glasgow disappointed in losing 28-11 to Edinburgh last month but Wilson has given the Murrayfield underperformers a chance at redemption, sticking with 14 of the starters. The only change is at openside flanker where young Gregor Brown replaces the benched Tom Gordon.

Aberdeen-born Brown missed over a year with a knee injury but has been gradually reintroduced in recent weeks.

“He brings a physical presence that I think we will need in Leinster,” said Wilson. “He can play six and seven and has had some really good games for us. He has come off the bench a few times and now he is ready to start.”

Wilson has mixed things up on the bench where he has been able to bring back experienced campaigners Fraser Brown and George Horne after injury.

Fraser Brown played in last season's win over Leinster and returns to the Glasgow squad for Saturday's match in Dublin. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Defeat in Dublin would end Glasgow’s season but a win would see them rewarded with a home semi-final against either Bulls or Sharks. It is a huge incentive against opponents who may still be feeling the physical and emotional toll of last weekend’s last-gasp loss to La Rochelle.

Glasgow have an ability to rise to the big occasions, as victories this season over Munster and Exeter Chiefs have shown. But both those matches were at Scotstoun and the Warriors will need to find a cure for their travel sickness if they are to pull off an upset at the RDS.

Glasgow coach Danny Wilson has kept with the players who lost to Edinburgh. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
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