Preview: Edinburgh v Scarlets

Date published: September 25 2014

The Scarlets have made two changes to their starting line-up for Friday’s trip to Edinburgh in the Guinness PRO12.

Rob McCusker comes in at number eight ahead of Rory Pitman, who drops to the bench, while Aled Davies starts at scrum-half with Gareth Davies suffering from concussion.

The Scottish side will be looking to bounce back from a heavy defeat in round three against the Ospreys.

With Edinburgh in a similar position to Scarlets only a week ago, needing a big home performance to get their season back on track, the Welsh region will be acutely aware of the challenge that lies ahead.

“We fully expect them to go home and test their resolve and have pride in their jersey. We’re preparing that way so we expect a challenge,” said head coach Wayne Pivac.

Elsewhere Samson Lee makes a long awaited return after suspension and slots in on the replacements bench.

For Edinburgh hooker and captain Ross Ford is back in the starting lineup while lock Grant Gilchrist also returns to the matchday squad.

There are eight changes to the starting line-up, Greig Tonks coming off the bench to start at full-back with Jack Cuthbert moving to the right wing and Sam Beard moving promoted to outside centre. Rested last weekend, Sean Kennedy starts at scrum-half.

In the forwards, Ford returns at hooker and John Andress moves from the bench to tighthead.

Ollie Atkins moves up from the bench to partner Anton Bresler in the second row, the latter moving from right to left.

Coming on to the bench and potentially making his Edinburgh Rugby debut is prop Allan Dell and returning from injury is vice-captain and lock, Gilchrist.

“I’m delighted to be back and can’t wait to get out there with the boys on Friday,” said Gilchrist

“Scarlets will be a tough challenge, they have some top players and are off the back of a big win last weekend.”

Form: Edinburgh have won just one of their last eight Guinness PRO12 matches: 14-13 at Munster in round 1. In their last five matches, Edinburgh have scored a uniform 12, 13, 14, 13, and 13 points respectively. The Scotsmen have not won a PRO12 game at Murrayfield since Leinster were the visitors on 20th December. Scarlets opened their 2014/15 winning account with their 43-0 victory at home to Benetton Treviso on Saturday. Scarlets only away victory in the PRO12 since last November came in Treviso in February. Edinburgh have beaten Scarlets just once in their last eight fixtures: 26-23 at Murrayfield on 30th March 2012.

The teams:

Edinburgh: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Jack Cuthbert, 13 Sam Beard, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Sean Kennedy, 8 Cornell Du Preez, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Tomas Leonardi, 5 Ollie Atkins, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 John Andress, 2 Ross Ford (c), 1 Alasdair Dickinson
Replacements: 16 James Hilterbrand, 17 Allan Dell, 18 WP Nel, 19 Grant Gilchrist, 20 Roddy Grant, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Phil Burleigh, 23 Nick McLennan

Scarlets: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Harry Robinson, 13 Gareth Owen, 12 Scott Williams (c), 11 Michael Tagicakibau, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Aled Davies, 8 Rob McCusker, 7 John Barclay, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Johan Snyman, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Rhodri Jones, 2 Emyr Phillips, 1 Rob Evans
Replacements: 16 Kirby Myhill, 17 Phil John, 18 Samson Lee, 19 James Davies, 20 Rory Pitman, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Steven Shingler, 23 Adam Warren

Date: Friday, September 26
Kick-off: 19:35 BST
Venue: Murrayfield
Referee: John Lacey (IRFU, 38th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Neil Paterson, Stephen Hart (both SRU)
Citing Commissioner: John Kirk (SRU)
TMO: David Changleng (SRU)