Preview: Edinburgh v Zebre

Date published: March 31 2016

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Edinburgh boss Alan Solomons has made four changes to his starting XV for Friday's PRO12 clash with Zebre at Murrayfield.

On-loan fly-half Jason Tovey, who arrived at the club last week, will start in the 10 jersey with Phil Burleigh moving to inside centre. Moving up from the bench, Sean Kennedy starts in the number nine jersey.

Blair Kinghorn, who kicked off last week’s win with a long-range penalty, remains at full-back while Damien Hoyland and Tom Brown again occupy the wing berths.

Meanwhile there’s just one change in the pack with Mike Coman returning to lead the team on the blindside, earning his 50th cap for the club in the process.

Packing down in the front row again are Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford and WP Nel, with Anton Bresler and Ben Toolis making up the second row. Try scorer against Dragons Hamish Watson remains at openside and Cornell Du Preez runs out once more in the number eight shirt.

There are three changes to the bench, with the return of Allan Dell and Will Helu, and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, who is within two points of kicking 300pts for the club, moving to the replacements.

Edinburgh currently sit in seventh spot in the table with four matches remaining in the league and Solomons highlighted the importance of this fixture as his side chase a play-off berth.

“Every game is absolutely vital for us and it is imperative that we deliver on Friday night.”

Meanwhile, Zebre head coach Gianluca Guidi has made four changes, including two positional switches, to his starting line-up after last weekend's 47-0 thrashing against Munster.

Amongst the backs, Ulrich Beyers starts on the right wing with Leonardo Sarto moving to the other wing where he replaces Giulio Toniolatti. 

There's also an alteration in midfield with Matteo Pratichetti coming in at inside centre. He takes over from Tommaso Boni, who will wear the number 13 jersey in place of Giulio Bisegni, who drops down to the bench.

In the forwards, Marco Bortolami replaces Valerio Bernabò in the second row and Andrea Lovotti is preferred to Guillermo Roan as the loosehead prop.

Form: Three of Edinburgh’s last five encounters in the PRO12 have been decided by a single point, the Scotsmen beating Dragons but sharing the spoils in two fixtures against Scarlets. Edinburgh have not lost at home in any tournament to an opponent other than an Irish province since Cardiff Blues visited Meggetland in April 2014. Zebre have lost their last six PRO12 matches and have not scored a point for 167 minutes. Zebre have lost on all of their six previous visits to Scotland. Zebre have won three of their last four matches against Edinburgh, whilst the two sides have met on seven previous occasions with Edinburgh having the slight edge by four wins to three.

The teams:

Edinburgh: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Damien Hoyland, 13 Michael Allen, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Tom Brown, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Sean Kennedy, 8 Cornell Du Preez, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Mike Coman (c), 5 Ben Toolis, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Alasdair Dickinson 
Replacements: 16 Stuart Mcinally, 17 Allan Dell, 18 John Andress, 19 Alex Toolis, 20 Magnus Bradbury, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyn, 22 Chris Dean 23 Will Helu

Zebre: 15 Kayle Van Zyl, 14 Ulrich Beyers, 13 Tommaso Boni, 12 Matteo Pratichetti, 11 Leonardo Sarto, 10 Kelly Haimona, 9 Guglielmo Palazzani, 8 Johan Meyer, 7 Federico Ruzza, 6 Jean Cook, 5 Marco Bortolami, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys (c), 3 Dario Chistolini, 2 Oliviero Fabiani, 1 Andrea Lovotti 
Replacements: 16 Bruno Postiglioni, 17 Guillermo Roan, 18 Pietro Ceccarelli, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg , 20 Emiliano Caffini, 21 Luke Burgess, 22 Carlo Canna, 23 Giulio Bisegni

Date: Friday, April 1
Venue: Murrayfield
Kick-off: 19:35 local (18:35 GMT)
Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Sam Grove-White (Scotland), Graeme Ormiston (Scotland)
TMO: Charles Samson (Scotland)

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