Preview: Edinburgh v Scarlets

Date published: September 8 2016

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Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons has made five changes to his starting XV for the club’s clash against Scarlets at home. 

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. 

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 Rugby debut 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 international Kevin Bryce will make his competitive debut for the 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."

Meanwhile Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac has made seven changes, which include three positional changes to his side.

Jonathan Davies is named in the centre alongside fellow Welsh international Scott Williams as he makes his first competitive start for the region since May 2014. Hadleigh Parkes moves to the wing with DTH van der Merwe unavailable due to illness.

Aled Davies replaces Gareth Davies at scrum half whilst Rhys Patchell, Steff Evans and Liam Williams – one of round one's top performers making 166 metres and 20 carries, retain their places in the backline.

Wyn Jones comes in to the starting line-up with Dylan Evans missing out through injury, giving new loan signing Luke Garrett named on the replacements bench. Ken Owens, Werner Kruger, Jake Ball and Aaron Shingler retain their place with David Bulbring coming in to the starting line-up.

Olympic silver medalist James Davies makes a return to the openside flank after his heroics in Rio with John Barclay moving to number eight.

Scarlets Head Coach Wayne Pivac said: "The positives outweighed the negatives. The loss and the scoreline were the huge negatives. It was pleasing and positive to see us dominate both possession and field position in the early exchanges but we let the pressure valve off with a few penalties. Some calls were 50/50; sometimes they go your way sometimes they don't.

"The intent was there to play but we overplayed at times. We'll look at how we vary that. We have options open to us and we're exploring those.

"I'd rather be one of the teams who got off to a flying start but we knew our game was going to be an arm wrestle. We know what our focus is and what we're doing. Round one always throws up some interesting results."

Form: Edinburgh have lost their last four PRO12 encounters including a 16-34 reversal in Cardiff last Saturday evening. The Scotsmen have lost two of their last three encounters at Murrayfield, 23-28 to Connacht in March and 17-21 to Cardiff Blues in May. Scarlets' only victory in their last five PRO12 fixtures was 34-20 over Newport Gwent Dragons in “Judgement Day” at the Principality Stadium at the end of April. Scarlets have never before started a PRO12 season with defeats in the first two rounds. Edinburgh have lost only one of their last four encounters with Scarlets, and that by a single point, at Parc y Scarlets in February 2016.

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

Scarlets: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Hadleigh Parkes, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Aled Davies, 8 John Barclay, 7 James Davies, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Ken Owens(c), 1 Wyn Jones
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Luke Garrett, 18 Peter Edwards, 19 Tadhg Beirne, 20 Josh Macleod, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Dan Jones, 23 Aled Thomas

Date: Friday, September 9
Venue: Murrayfield
Kick-off: 19:35 BST (18:35 GMT)
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Sean Gallagher (Ireland), Graeme Ormiston (Scotland)
TMO: Olly Hodges (Ireland)

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