Preview: Edinburgh v Ospreys

Date published: March 2 2017

Edinburgh head coach Duncan Hodge has made three changes to his side to face the Ospreys in the PRO12 on Friday.

Loosehead prop Alasdair Dickinson returns from a period on the sidelines to start in the front-row. The Scotland international has not featured in the black and red since sustaining a foot injury against Glasgow Warriors in the 1872 Cup clash on Boxing Day.

In the backline, Duncan Weir is released from Scotland camp to start at fly-half, while his national team colleague, Grant Gilchrist, is named in the second-row.

"We’ve got to take the positives from the Cardiff game and carry them into tomorrow night’s encounter against Ospreys," said Hodge.

"As a group we were bitterly disappointed to score three tries and be in control of the match, only for basic errors and execution to cost us the game in the closing stages.

"The players have knuckled down and addressed their work-ons and we hope this week’s work will pay dividends come tomorrow.

"Ospreys are a quality side and travel to Myreside on a good run of form, but we have the belief in ourselves to come away with a result."

Double try-scorer against Cardiff Blues, Rory Scholes, continues on the left wing and is joined by Damien Hoyland and Blair Kinghorn in the back-three, while Glenn Bryce and Chris Dean remain in midfield.

Sam Hidalgo-Clyne retains the starting number nine jersey to form the half-back duo with Weir.

Murray McCallum – who signed a two-year deal with the club – retains his spot in the front-row alongside the returning Dickinson and captain Neil Cochrane.

Ben Toolis makes his 22nd consecutive start in the engine room, where he is joined by the incoming Gilchrist.

The trio of Magnus Bradbury, Jamie Ritchie and Cornell Du Preez are again named as the starting back-row.

Meanwhile the Ospreys have named their side to play for Friday's game.

Paul James will make his 150th appearance in the competition if he comes on, putting him one ahead of Duncan Jones as the leading Ospreys appearance maker in the PRO12 

11 players were unavailable for selection due to international duty with Wales senior, U20 and 7s squads

"There’s a very short turnaround from Sunday but the boys were back in the following morning, working hard and preparing for what will be a tough evening in Edinburgh against a physical, forward based team who are going to make life very difficult for us," said head coach Steve Tandy.

"Edinburgh hasn’t been a happy place for us these last few years and we want to put that right. To do that, we know that we will have to perform for 80 minutes, something that we’ve been guilty of not doing over the last couple of weekends.

"If we can end this block of fixtures with a positive result then we can really pleased with the outcome from a busy period of games. We’ve been stretched, are continuing to lose players, but what I like about this group is that they aren’t looking for excuses; they are looking for solutions. There’s a great appetite for work, a desire to improve, and that’s what’s needed if you want to build a squad capable of surviving these international periods and coming through the other side to be competing in the spring.

"We’ve not won anything yet, we’re all aware of that, but we’ve dug in and are still in there. We’ve prepped well this week and we know that we need a good performance on Friday night then we can take stock of where we are ahead of what promises to be a tough but exciting couple of months for Ospreys Rugby."

Form: Edinburgh have slipped to four straight defeats in the Guinness PRO12 since beating Zebre in Parma on New Year’s Eve. Edinburgh's only victory in their last six encounters with Welsh regions was 20-9 over Scarlets at BT Murrayfield in round 2 of the PRO12. Ospreys' only defeat in their last fifteen first team encounters was 23-25 to Munster at Liberty Stadium in the Guinness PRO12 on 18 February. Ospreys most recent defeat on the road came on a trip to Munster in early November. Ospreys have won their last two matches against Edinburgh but both fixtures were played at Liberty Stadium. Edinburgh's only loss at home to Ospreys in their last nine matches was by a single point at BT Murrayfield in February 2012.

The teams:

Edinburgh: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Damien Hoyland, 13 Glenn Bryce, 12 Chris Dean, 11 Rory Scholes, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 8 Cornell Du Preez, 7 Jamie Ritchie, 6 Magnus Bradbury, 5 Ben Toolis, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Murray McCallum, 2 Neil Cochrane (c), 1 Alasdair Dickinson
Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Derrick Appiah, 18 Kevin Bryce, 19 Anton Bresler, 20 Lewis Carmichael, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Junior Rasolea, 23 Michael Allen

Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Keelan Giles, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Josh Mataves, 11 Dafydd Howells, 10 Sam Davies, 9 Tom Habberfield (c), 8 James King, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Olly Cracknell, 5 Rory Thornton, 4 Tyler Ardron, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Nicky Smith
Replacements: 16 Hugh Gustafson, 17 Paul James, 18 Rhodri Jones, 19 Joe Bearman, 20 Dan Baker, 21 Brendon Leonard, 22 Jonathan Spratt, 23 Jay Baker

Date: Friday, March 2
Venue: Myreside
Kick-off: 19:35 GMT
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: David Wilkinson (Ireland), Bob Nevins (Scotland)
TMO: Kevin Beggs (Ireland)

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