Preview: Edinburgh v Leinster

Date published: September 15 2016

1022.6666666666666x767__origin__0x0_Phil_Burleigh_with_Alan_Solomons

Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons has made five changes to his starting line-up for Friday's clash with Leinster at Murrayfield.

Michael Allen starts on the wing in place of Rory Scholes, while Phil Burleigh returns to start at inside centre, meaning Solomoni Rasolea moves to the bench.

In the pack, two of the three remaining changes are made in the back-row where John Hardie comes in for Hamish Watson and Magnus Bradbury takes the number eight shirt in place of the injured Nasi Manu (ribs).

The final change to the starting forwards is at lock, where Ben Toolis is promoted from the bench for Fraser McKenzie.

After making his Edinburgh last week, Glenn Bryce continues at full-back and is joined by Tom Brown and Allen in the back three.

Sasa Tofilau continues at outside centre alongside Burleigh, while Duncan Weir and Nathan Fowles retain their respective spots at fly-half and scrum-half.

The all-international front-row of Rory Sutherland, Ross Ford and WP Nel continue to front the pack.

Grant Gilchrist captains the team and partners Toolis in the second-row, while Jamie Ritchie remains on the blindside flank to accompany fellow loose forwards Hardie and Bradbury.

Scotland internationalist Kevin Bryce will make his competitive debut for the capital club if called upon from the bench, which would also mark his first professional appearance at tighthead prop. Allan Dell is also brought into the matchday squad.

Solomons said: "The players are all looking forward to playing at home and are relishing the challenge that the Scarlets will present."

Players not available due to injury are Alasdair Dickinson (hamstring), Simon Berghan (foot), Anton Bresler (groin), Nasi Manu (ribs), Jason Tovey (wrist), Will Helu (hamstring) and Damien Hoyland (groin).

Meanwhile, there are a number of changes to Leinster's starting XV that went to Glasgow last Saturday and further changes on the replacements bench.

Head coach Leo Cullen also confirmed that Rob Kearney's scan on Monday had come back relatively positive and that the 30-year-old full-back has not picked up a long term injury.

He has though suffered a grade two PCL knee injury which will keep him sidelined for the next few rounds of the PRO12. Rehabilitation has already commenced and he will be assessed again in a few weeks.

With Kearney out, Zane Kirchner, a try scorer last week in Glasgow, moves to full-back with Dave Kearney continuing on the left wing. Isa Nacewa makes his first appearance of the campaign on the right wing and will captain the side.

It will also be his 150th appearance for Leinster since his debut in September 2008 against Cardiff. Nacewa has scored 33 tries and 486 points for Leinster in his 149 games to date.

Noel Reid and Garry Ringrose are again named in the midfield for the third time in three games while in the half-backs Jamison Gibson-Park makes his first start in Leinster colours at scrum-half with Joey Carbery outside him.

In the pack there are a number of changes as a number of returning internationals make their first starts.

Prop Jack McGrath and hooker Sean Cronin come into the front-row alongside Mike Ross to form a very experienced unit. They have 345 Leinster and 146 Ireland caps between them.

In the second-row Devin Toner comes in to partner Mike McCarthy while in the back-row Jamie Heaslip scrums down at number eight for the first time this season with Jordi Murphy at blindside and Dan Leavy at openside flank.

Form: Edinburgh Rugby’s 20-9 victory over Scarlets at BT Murrayfield on Friday ended a four game losing run in the Guinness PRO12. The Scotsmen have lost their last six encounters against Irish provinces since beating Ulster 16-10 at BT Murrayfield last October. Leinster’s last nine regular season fixtures in the Guinness PRO12 have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst their most recent win on the road came on a visit to Zebre in February. Leinster have won only once in Scotland since January 2013: 36-23 against Edinburgh in May 2015. The Leinstermen’s only defeat to Edinburgh in their last five fixtures was 9-16 at Meggetland in September 2015.

The teams:

Edinburgh: 15 Glenn Bryce, 14 Michael Allen, 13 Sasa Tofilau, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Tom Brown, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Nathan Fowles, 8 Magnus Bradbury, 7 John Hardie, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 5 Grant Gilchrist (c), 4 Ben Toolis, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Rory Sutherland 
Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Kevin Bryce, 19 Fraser McKenzie, 20 Hamish Watson, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Blair Kinghorn, 23 Solomoni Rasolea

Leinster: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Isa Nacewa (c), 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Joey Carbery, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Dan Leavy, 6 Jordi Murphy, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Jack McGrath
Replacements: 16 Bryan Byrne, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Ross Molony, 20 Josh van der Flier, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Cathal Marsh, 23 Rory O'Loughlin

Date: Friday, September 16
Venue: Murrayfield
Kick-off: 19:35 BST (18:35 GMT)
Referee: David Wilkinson (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Emanuele Tomo (Italy), Bob Nevins (Scotland)
TMO: Carlo Damasco (Italy)

COMMENTS