Leinster expecting a battle
DRAGONS v LEINSTER (tonight, KO 7pm)
LEINSTER don’t expect it to be a stroll in the park against Newport Gwent Dragons this evening despite Glasgow’s romp at Rodney Parade, writes Chris Kirwan.
The Irish province head to Wales on a seven-match winning streak looking to continue their charge towards the RaboDirect Pro12 playoffs. They are in free-scoring form and brushed aside the Scarlets 32-5 at the Royal Dublin Society last weekend.
The European champions are the top scorers in the Pro12 this season and head into tonight’s game as hot favourites courtesy of Glasgow’s 60-3 drubbing of the Dragons a fortnight ago.
But team manager Guy Easterby believes the Warriors’ comprehensive success could make their task more tricky.
“It will be a really tough game, I don’t think anyone wins there easily, even if Glasgow got a big win there,” said the former scrum-half.
“They’re an extremely proud bunch with very loyal supporters and they will have a point to prove because they’ve said themselves they were disappointed with the Glasgow result.
“And they showed some good resolve against Zebre, coming from 13-3 down to get the win.
“We expect a real battle and I don’t think the Glasgow result helped us.”
Leinster include four players that were on Ireland’s bench in their Six Nations defeat to Scotland last week.
Full-back Luke Fitzgerald, scrum-half Eoin Reddan, hooker Sean Cronin and lock Devin Toner will hope to give national boss Declan Kidney a nudge with prominent showings.
Leinster are captained by feisty openside Shane Jennings while the Dragons know all about dangerous fly-half Ian Madigan, who is knocking on the door for Test rugby.
The 23-year-old scored 18 points when the sides met in Dublin in September and booted an inexperienced team to success in last season’s corresponding fixture with a 17-point haul.