Daunting task as Swansea bid to upset Leinster

SWANSEA centre Mark Taylor has a score to settle at Donnybrook this evening (7.35pm).

Taylor and his Swansea team-mates face one of the most daunting prospects in European rugby when they visit Leinster.

But for the man who lost out for Lions Test selection to Brian O'Driscoll and then had to watch as the Leinster player took the Man of the Match Award at St. Helens in October, it is an opportunity to prove a point.

His head-to-head with the golden boy of Irish rugby is just one of the intriguing individual battles in this match as Swansea seek to reverse the 51-10 home drubbing earlier in the season.

But Matt Williams’ side, unbeaten in their first four pool matches, will be hot favourites and victory would virtually guarantee them a home tie in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals.

Williams, though, is determined that his side will not be lulled into a false sense of security tonight. “The Swansea display at St. Helen’s was pretty bad. We played very well but we know they played poorly as well.

“They appear to have used that game to inspire them and have put together some good results lately.

“One of the worst things that can happen in rugby is to assume that you can repeat an away victory with a home one. But things can change in a very short time.”

“Last season we went through a bit of trauma having to play two away games in the space of five days. We had four players injured going into the first, lost another three after the second and then had to play a quarter-final away to Leicester a week later.

“We don’t want this situation to arise again. We have been going well and we are on the verge of getting into the knock out stages.

“Our thinking right now is that we cannot take anything for granted. We have to be at our best against Swansea and we will be equally determined to go and beat Bristol in the final game to make sure everything is in our own hands.

Williams’ starting 15 includes Girvan Dempsey, despite the fact that the full-back is troubled by a slight groin strain.

In the worst case scenario, Christian Warner or Gordon D’Arcy might move to full-back, with either Nathan Spooner or David Quinlan then filling into the outhalf or wing positions.

Swansea will be without injured full-back Kevin Morgan. He is replaced by Wales under-21 star Gareth Swales, who will be making his first senior start of the season. Coach John Connolly will finalise the team after checking the fitness of front-row Ben Evans.

*Scotland have arranged matches against Ireland, Wales and Italy as part of their preparations for the World Cup in Australia this October. They will play Italy at Murrayfield on August 23, Wales at the Millennium Stadium on August 30 and conclude with another home clash against Ireland on September 6.

Leinster: G. Dempsey, D. Hickey, B. O'Driscoll, s. Horgan, G. D'Arcy, C. Warner, B. O'Meara, R. Corrigan (captain), s. Byrne, E. Byrne, L. Cullen, M. O'Kelly, E. Miller, V. Costello, K. Gleeson.

Replacements: P. Coyle, G. Hickie, A. McCullen, D. Dillon, B. O'Riordan, N. Spooner, D. Quinlan.

Swansea: G Swales; S Payne, M Taylor, S Gibbs, R Rees; G Henson, S Cordingley; D Morris (capt), C Balshen, D Dorsey/Tim Evans/B Evans, J Slade, J Thomas, D Thomas, C Charvis, J Bater.

Replacements: C Wells, D Dorsey/Tim Evans, R Jenkins, R Francis, A Thomas, S Winn.

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