Pro12 semi-finals: Glasgow Warriors ready for Leinster test

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Interview - Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend

Pro12 semi-final: Leinster v Glasgow

Venue:
RDS, Dublin
Date:
Saturday, 11 May
Kick-off:
19:35 BST
Coverage:
Live on BBC ALBA, BBC Radio Scotland & BBC Sport website

Glasgow's record try-scorer DTH van der Merwe knows it will take a huge effort to win at Leinster in order to reach the Pro12 final.

The Warriors finished third in the league table, two points behind the star-studded Dublin side.

"We've got to go out there and play our best game of the season, nothing less will get us through," said the winger.

"We want silverware this year and to do that we need to take out the top dogs like Leinster."

Canada international van der Merwe, 27, was on the losing side when the sides met at the same stage last year.

On that occasion, Leinster held off a late rally from Glasgow to win 19-15 before losing to Ospreys in the final.

Glasgow lost 22-17 in March's league visit to Dublin and were beaten 6-0 at home when the sides met at Scotstoun in November.

"We've been there a couple of times before," said van der Merwe of the play-off challenge.

"I've been here four seasons and I've seen the Glasgow Warriors take massive strides forward."

Glasgow head coach Gregor Townsend is a great admirer of Leinster, who have finished runners-up in this competition for the last three years.

"Leinster have been a dominant force, winning back-to-back Heineken Cups and playing really attractive rugby," he told BBC Scotland.

"It's based on being very aggressive at the breakdown, getting quick ball, being very fit and keeping the ball for long periods.

"All of those elements mean it's going to be a tough game for us.

"We've played them twice this season and they have been very competitive games.

DTH van der Merwe has scored 28 tries in four seasons for Glasgow Warriors
DTH van der Merwe has scored 28 tries in four seasons for Glasgow Warriors

"We know what we have to do to improve and it starts with us being physical and intense, making sure the breakdown is a battle."

A late ruling on a forward pass proved costly when the teams last met and the closeness of the contest gives Townsend heart.

"The players were really disappointed not to have won that night," he recalled.

"Maybe in the past three or four seasons a win at a place like the RDS would have been unlikely.

"We had a couple of opportunities where we didn't hold on to the ball but I love the fact we fought all the way to the end."

Glasgow have been knocked out at this stage twice in the last three years but Townsend, in his first season in charge, does not feel the burden of expectation.

"Pressure, to me, is what you do when someone is running at you, what you can do physically on the field and how focused you are for 80 minutes," he said.

"This group of players work very hard for each other, they work hard to improve and they work hard to get success for this club.

"We'll be doing everything we can to make sure that happens at the weekend."