Preview: Edinburgh v Munster

Date published: April 10 2015

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Munster welcome back three Irish internationals for Saturday's PRO12 clash with Edinburgh at Murrayfield.

Head coach Anthony Foley has named a strong side including the final trio of returning internationals – Paul O'Connell, Peter O'Mahony and Conor Murray – in the starting line-up.

In total, Foley makes six changes to the side that defeated Connacht at Thomond Park a fortnight ago.

An all-new front-row sees Dave Kilcoyne and BJ Botha pack down on either side of Duncan Casey, who makes his first start since rehabbing an ankle injury sustained during training in February.

O'Connell returns to the second-row, while the inclusion of captain O'Mahony at number six is the only change to the back-row where Tommy O'Donnell draws ever closer to the 100 cap milestone and will win his 99th cap for the province.

The final change comes in the half-backs with scrum-half Murray resuming his partnership with Ian Keatley.

On the bench, James Cronin is included for the first time since picking up a knee injury on his Six Nations debut against Italy in February, while Donnacha Ryan returns having completed his return to play protocols following a concussion sustained in March.

Meanwhile, after last week’s last-minute victory in the European Challenge Cup, Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons keeps faith with the starting XV from last week’s win in this vital fixture, with the battle for a top six finish going into the last lap.

Dougie Fife – who was a late withdrawal from the starters last week due to a nose injury – comes back on the right wing.

Ross Ford will also captain the side again as Mike Coman continues with his return to play protocols following a head knock against Scarlets two weeks ago.

The bench sees only two changes with Grant Shiells coming in for Rory Sutherland, who is progressing through return to play protocols following a head knock in the closing minutes against London Irish, and Tom Brown moving to the replacements as Fife starts.

"Munster come to BT Murrayfield at full strength, well rested, on the back of a great Six Nations for Ireland and being out of Europe, they only have the PRO12 play-offs on their mind," said Solomons.

"So we are all fully aware of what Saturday brings.

"The players are looking forward to what will be a big match and know that only their best will do."

Form: Edinburgh have won their last three matches in all tournaments since tripping up in Cardiff on 1st March. The Scotsmen’s run of eight successive victories in all competitions was halted when Ulster visited Murrayfield in the PRO12 of 20th February. Munster have lost just one of their last six Guinness PRO12 matches: 12-26 to Ospreys in Swansea in round 17. The Munstermen have scored at least one try in their last 23 PRO12 matches. Edinburgh’s 14-13 victory in Limerick in the opening round of this season’s Guinness PRO12 campaign ended a round of five successive defeats to the Munstermen.

The teams:

Edinburgh: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Dougie Fife, 13 Phil Burleigh, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 8 David Denton, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Roddy Grant, 5 Ben Toolis, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ross Ford (c), 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Grant Shiells, 18 John Andress, 19 Fraser Mckenzie, 20 Tomas Leonardi, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Sam Beard, 23 Tom Brown.

Munster: 15 Felix Jones, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Andrew Smith, 12 Denis Hurley, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Tommy O'Donnell, 6 Peter O'Mahony (c), 5 Paul O'Connell, 4 Billy Holland, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Duncan Casey, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Eusebio Guinazu, 17 James Cronin, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Donnacha Ryan, 20 Dave O'Callaghan, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Ronan O'Mahony.

Date: Saturday, 11 April
Venue: Murrayfield
Kick-off:  19;30 BST (18:30 GMT)
Referee: Ian Davies (WRU)
Assistant referees: Neil Paterson, Andy Macmenemy (both SRU)
TMO: Iain Ramage (SRU)

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