Preview: Leinster v Edinburgh

Date published: September 21 2012

Edinburgh coach Michael Bradley has made three changes to his side that put five tries past Zebre for Saturday's Pro12 hit-out with Leinster.

Edinburgh coach Michael Bradley has made three changes to side that put five tries past Zebre at Murrayfield last weekend for Saturday's PRO12 hit-out with Leinster in Dublin.

With Tom Brown now back to full fitness, Edinburgh try-machine Tim Visser is rested.

In the pack, the return of prop Geoff Cross and flanker Roddy Grant completes the changes to the front-line, while a quality quartet of youngsters are set for their first competitive outing of the season from the bench: Robin Hislop, Robert McAlpine, Harry Leonard and Dougie Fife.

“We're going into this game with a lot of confidence and a degree of excitement in terms of the possibility of what we can achieve,” added Bradley.

“There's a lot to build on from our first three games, having played well in a number of key areas.

“The difference will come in the number of chances we can create as Leinster's defence has been the key component in their success in recent years.

“I think they will focus on that element against us because of the type of side we are but, if we create enough chances and continue to increase our conversion rate from the last three games, then we'll be confident of winning this game.”

The sides go into the match with a two from three record, each losing their tournament opener before adjusting their fortunes by putting over 40 points past their opponents at home and needing a last minute drop goal to earn success on the road.

A formidable adversary in Dublin, Leinster lost just two games at the Showground last season, with Edinburgh's last win in the Irish capital dating back to 2005.

However, despite a well-documented pedigree in performance and formidable home record, Bradley believes Edinburgh can take confidence from their start to their season and the buoyancy of the players ahead of the game.

“Leinster have consistently been the in-form side in northern hemisphere rugby, winning three Heineken Cups and finishing in the top three of the RaboDirect PRO12 for the past eight years, narrowly missing out on the league title at the RDS last season,” he said.

“They're a quality side through and through and, because of that, our players will find this game an exciting challenge.

“I've been impressed by the willingness to be meticulous in our preparations and go the extra mile this season. We will be well-prepared to face Leinster in Dublin.”

Meanwhile, Leo Cullen skippers a side which shows several changes to the team which scraped past Treviso away last weekend.

Up front Sean Cronin comes into the front row in place of Richardt Strauss alongside international colleagues Cian Healy (making his 98th Leinster appearance) and Mike Ross.

Cullen partners Tom Denton, who will make his home debut for the province.

Gordon D'Arcy makes his first start of the season in midfield alongside Brian O'Driscoll who scored his 55th career try for the province on what was his 160th appearance last week. O'Driscoll now lies one ahead of D'Arcy in third place and four behind Denis Hickie's tally of 59 tries. Shane Horgan leads the all-time list on 71 tries.

Isa Nacewa returns to the starting line-up at full-back.

Form: Leinster have secured back to back victories in the RaboDirect PRO12, although they had Jonathan Sexton to thank for their 19-18 success in Treviso on Saturday, the Irish fly-half kicking the winning penalty goal in the 79th minute. The Leinstermen are undefeated in their last six clashes with Scottish sides in all competitions. Edinburgh have also been victorious in their last two fixtures, against the Blues and Zebre. The Scotsmen have not won three in a row in the tournament since October 2010. Edinburgh have lost their last eight encounters with Irish provinces. Leinster have won five of their last six matches against Edinburgh, whilst the only Scottish side to beat Leinster on their own soil since Edinburgh did so at Donnybrook in 2005, was Glasgow in September 2011.

The teams:

Leinster: 15 Isa Nacewa, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Fionn Carr, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Tom Denton, 4 Leo Cullen (c), 3 Mike Ross, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Tom Sexton, 17 Heinke van der Merwe, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Devin Toner, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 John Cooney, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Brendan Macken.

Edinburgh: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Lee Jones, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Tom Brown, 10 Greig Laidlaw (c), 9 Richie Rees, 8 Netani Talei, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 Stuart McInally, 5 Sean Cox, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Ross Ford, 1 John Yapp.
Replacements: 16 Andy Titterrell, 17 Robin Hislop, 18 Willem Nel1, 9 Robert McAlpine, 20 Dimitri Basilaia, 21 Chris Leck, 22 Harry Leonard, 23 Dougie Fife.

Date: Saturday, September 22
Kick-off: 18:15 BST
Venue: RDS, Dublin
Referee: Neil Hennessy (Wales)
Assistant referees: Simon McDowell (Ireland), Trevor Collins (Ireland)
Television match official: Alan Rogan (Ireland)
Assessor: Michael Carroll (Ireland)