Preview: Edinburgh v Leinster

Date published: May 15 2015

1022.6666666666666x767__origin__0x0_Tim_Visser_Edinburgh_European_Challenge_Cup_2015

Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons has made four changes to his starting line-up to face Leinster at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Tom Heathcote moves up from the bench at fly-half to replace the injured Phil Burleigh, while the remainder of the changes are in the pack.

John Andress starts at tighthead prop, in place of WP Nel and Anton Bresler comes in at lock in place of Fraser McKenzie who moves to the blindside flank in place of Stuart McInally, with both last week’s incumbents carrying injuries from the encounter in Wales.

Jack Cuthbert retains his place at full-back with Dougie Fife and Tim Visser – playing his last league match in the black and red – on the wing.

The centre pairing of Sam Beard and Andries Strauss is retained and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne remains at scrum-half, to partner Heathcote in the half-backs.

In the pack, Alasdair Dickinson and Ross Ford – who will captain the side – stay at loosehead and hooker while Ben Toolis at lock, Hamish Watson at openside and Cornell Du Preez at number eight retain their places.

To remain in contention for the upper tier of European competition the club, realistically, are looking for a bonus-point win while results in a number of this weekend’s other matches will prove critical.

Solomons expects a tough encounter against the defending champions.

“We all know what is at stake and that we have to be at our best to challenge for a spot at Europe’s top table next season,” he said.

Meanwhile, there are three changes to Leinster's run-on side which results in a first appearance of the season at outside centre for 24-year-old Colm O'Shea, while Leinster Academy winger Cian Kelleher could make his senior debut if introduced from the bench.

Elsewhere, the pack is the same that beat Treviso last time out with Jack McGrath, Richardt Strauss and Mike Ross in the front-row. Devin Toner and Mike McCarthy are again selected in the second-row.

In the back-row Jordi Murphy starts at blindside, with Sean O'Brien at openside flanker while the try scorer from last weekend Jamie Heaslip starts from the base of the scrum at number eight and as captain.

Rob Kearney is again selected at full-back with brother Dave on the left wing and Zane Kirchner on the right wing.

It's a new centre partnership for the trip to Edinburgh with Noel Reid at inside and O'Shea at outside centre. As a result Ian Madigan switches to fly-half with Isaac Boss the final change as he starts at scrum-half.

Saturday will be Jimmy Gopperth's last involvement in a Leinster jersey before he moves to Wasps and should he make an appearance from the bench it will be his 59th cap.

He has 350 points to his name to date and has started 13 of the 15 Heineken Cup/Champions Cup games Leinster have been involved in during his time. He won a PRO12 title last season scoring 14 points in the final against Glasgow Warriors.

With Gordon D'Arcy and his wife expecting their first baby this week, he was not considered for selection.

Form: Realistically Edinburgh require a bonus point victory to put themselves in contention for a European Champions Cup spot in 2015/16. The Scotsmen have lost just two of their last twelve home games in all competitions, both to Irish provinces. Leinster's 10-0 victory over Treviso at the RDS Arena last time out guaranteed a top six finish and automatic qualification for the European Champions Cup in 2015/16. The Leinstermen have not won successive Guinness PRO12 encounters since January, whilst their only victory on the road since their trip to Castres in October was at Cardiff Blues in January. Edinburgh have won just one of their last eight fixtures with Leinster: 11-6 at Murrayfield in round 10 last season, and have been restricted to a single try in each of their last six encounters with the Leinstermen.

The teams:

Edinburgh: 15 Jack Cuthbert, 14 Dougie Fife, 13 Sam Beard, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Sam Hidlago-Clyne, 8 Cornell Du Preez, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Fraser McKenzie, 5 Ben Toolis, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 John Andress, 2 Ross Ford (c), 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Neil Cochrane, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 James Hilterbrand, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22  Jade Te Rure, 23 Tom Brown.

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Zane Kirchner, 13 Colm O'Shea, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Jamie Heaslip (c), 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Jordi Murphy, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Jack McGrath.
Replacements: 16 Aaron Dundon, 17 Michael Bent, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Tom Denton, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Jimmy Gopperth, 23 Cian Kelleher.

Date: Saturday, May 16
Kick-off: 15:00 BST, 14:00 GMT
Venue: Murrayfield
Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU, 125th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Andrew McMenemey, Graeme Wells (both SRU)
Citing Commissioner: John Kirk (SRU)
TMO: Iain Ramage (SRU)

COMMENTS