Preview: Edinburgh v Ospreys

Date published: October 1 2015

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Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons has made six changes to his starting XV to face Ospreys at Murrayfield on Friday.

Captain Mike Coman comes back into the squadat blindside, after an absence following a family bereavement, with Cornell Du Preez moving to number eight in place of Nasi Manu who is recovering from a knock to the ankle. Roddy Grant retains his berth at openside.

Following surgery for Ben Toolis, Anton Bresler returns from injury at lock where he's partnered with Fraser McKenzie. 

The remainder of the pack stays as it was for the win over Treviso with Rory Sutherland, Neil Cochrane and John Andress at loosehead, hooker and tighthead respectively.

Full-back Greig Tonks, who kicked twelve points in the Treviso win, retains the 15 shirt while try scorers in that game Damien Hoyland and Phil Burleigh remain on the left wing and at stand-off respectively.

Tom Brown comes in for Dougie Fife on the right wing and Andries Strauss for Sam Beard at inside centre.

Chris Dean retains the outside centre spot and scrum half Sean Kennedy maintains his half-back partnership with Burleigh.

Anticipating the challenge Solomons said: "Ospreys are a side that like to put a lot of pace on the game, they play with a lot of width, they've obviously got a very experienced nine in ex-All Back Brendan Leonard and some good outside backs too, so we're expecting them to make it a pretty quick game.

"I think we've had a positive start to the season. It was good for us to get the wins against Romania and Ulster going into the season and to come away with wins in the first two competitive matches has been pleasing.”

With a number of players on Rugby World Cup duty or sidelined through injury, Solomons was quick to praise the young players who have stepped up to the mark.

"Damien [Hoyland] has picked up three tries in our two competitive games and I thought he did really well for his try against Treviso. Chris [Dean] is also growing with each game," he added.

"These two are starting to establish themselves in the starting fifteen, which is very positive.”

Meanwhile, Ospreys boss Steve Tandy has made two changes to his run-on side from the team that lost narrowly to Munster more than a fortnight ago.

Both changes are in the backline where Ben John replaces Owen Watkin at inside centre and Dafydd Howells comes in on the left wing where he takes over from Hanno Dirksen, who switches to the right wing.

Dirksen replaces Kristian Phillips, who wore the number 14 jersey against Munster.

Tandy said his side are keen to return to action.

"We've had a few weeks off since the Munster game now so it's good to get back into action, with something to target at the end of a hard training week," he explained. 

"Going up to Edinburgh is always a challenge, as we've seen for ourselves during international windows before, and it won't be any different on Friday with the heavy investment that Edinburgh and the SRU have made in an experienced, overseas core to the squad that gives them the strength in depth to cope with a World Cup period.

"We improved game on game in the opening two rounds of the PRO12 but we are well aware that we still need to raise it several levels again to get to where we need it to be. 

"It may be a young group at the moment but there are still the same internal expectations on these boys to perform to the Ospreys standard as there is on the likes of Alun Wyn, James King or Dan Lydiate. 

"It's a great opportunity for someone who is hungry to show what they can do at this level and, as coaches, we are learning a lot about this squad, and the next generation of Ospreys, how they cope with the unique pressure, are they clinical, is there attention to detail in what they do, do they know their roles? 

"Those are the factors that will drive a positive performance on Friday.
 
"Clearly, we want to be further up the PRO12 table but it's important that everyone remains level headed about where we are at the moment and don't get carried away because we've lost a couple. 

"That's not what we are about at the Ospreys. We're an honest group, we know what we want to achieve here and how to achieve it. 

"The focus is very much on working together to get us through this period, using the experience and getting the consistency that we need over the next few weeks with this young squad, starting with Edinburgh on Friday night.”

Form: Edinburgh are one of just three teams who have won both of their opening encounters in the PRO12 this season. The Scotsmen have not started a PRO12 season with three successive victories since 2009/10. Edinburgh have won their last four home games against Welsh visitors in all competitions. Ospreys are one of only three sides to have lost both their fixtures so far this season – the Welshmen lost their opening three fixtures in 2007/08 and again in 2012/13. Ospreys only success in Scotland since September 2009 was a 15-14 victory over Edinburgh at Murrayfield in February 2012. The last six encounters between the two sides have all been won by the home side on the day. 

The teams:

Edinburgh: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Tom Brown, 13 Dean Chris Dean, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Damien Hoyland, 10 Phil Burleigh, 9 Sean Kennedy, 8 Cornell du Preez, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 Mike Coman (c), 5 Fraser Mckenzie, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 John Andress, 2 Neil Cochrane, 1 Rory Sutherland
Replacements: 16 George Turner, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Alex Toolis, 20 Hamish Watson, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 James Johnstone, 23 Jack Cuthbert

Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Hanno Dirksen, 13 Jonathan Spratt, 12 Ben John, 11 Dafydd Howells, 10 Sam Davies, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Dan Baker, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Joe Bearman, 5 Rory Thornton, 4 Lloyd Ashley (c), 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Nicky Smith
Replacements: 16 Scott Otten, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Cai Griffiths, 19 Rynier Bernardo, 20 Olly Cracknell, 21 Ifereimi Boladau, 22 Tom Habberfield, 23 Aled Jenkins

Date: Friday, October 2
Venue: Murrayfield
Kick-off: 18.00 local (17.00 GMT)
Referee: Andy Brace (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Sam Grove-Whiate, Stephen Ward (Scotland)
TMO: Iain Ramage (Scotland)

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