Preview: Zebre v Edinburgh

Date published: April 18 2014

Edinburgh welcome back prolific winger Tim Visser to their starting lineup for Saturday's PRO12 clash with Zebre in Parma.

Edinburgh welcome back prolific winger Tim Visser to their starting lineup for Saturday's PRO12 clash with Zebre in Parma.

The Scotland internationalist announced his return – and 100th appearance for the club – with a five-minute cameo against Cardiff Blues last weekend. Tomorrow will be his first start since breaking his leg in October.

Unfortunately for head coach Alan Solomons, as one player comes in, another two are ruled out, with front-line locks Grant Gilchrist (ankle) and Izak van der Westhuizen (head knock) unavailable through injury.

Their places in the boiler house are take by Scotland A internationalist Ollie Atkins and academy second-row – and debutant – Ben Toolis, while the opportunity of a first appearance has also been offered to twin brother and fellow development player Alex Toolis, who has been named on the bench.

Other changes in the pack see Roddy Grant and Wicus Blaauw come in for the rotated and rested Cornell Du Preez and Alasdair Dickinson, who are selected on the bench, while Solomons has handed the chance to orchestrate the backline to a new half-back partnership of Sean Kennedy and Carl Bezuidenhout.

“Tim Visser and Matt Scott have played very little for us and that's been our loss,” said Solomons.

“Tim is a very good finisher and it's excellent to have him in the side, though we shouldn't expect too much from him as this is really his first proper outing.

“Unfortunately our top two locks, Grant Gilchrist and Izak van der Westhuizen, are both out, so it's an opportunity for Ollie [Atkins] to play a leading role and for young Ben Toolis to come out of our academy and play for us.

“He [Toolis] is still a young guy who has a lot to learn but he is an outstanding athlete with a lot of ability and potential.

“If properly looked after, and providing he shows the necessary application, he could have a very good career.

“Sean [Kennedy] and Carl [Bezuidenhout] have not played much in the last three games and I think it's the right time to make a rotation and see what they can do, it's a good opportunity for both of them.

“We previously did the rotation with Roddy Grant but, because we retained the side following the win in Newport, we have brought him back in to start this weekend, while Cornell [Du Preez] gets a bit of a rest on the bench.

“I think, if you take his southern hemisphere season and this season together, he has played in excess of 45 games so the bench is the appropriate place for him this time out.”

Meanwhile, second-row Quintin Geldenhuys skippers Zebre as they look to make up ground on Treviso in search of an all-important place in next season's inaugural Rugby Champions Cup.

He is partnered by George Biagi, with powerful Fijian Samuela Vunisa – who dotted down last week against the Scarlets and against fellow Scots Glasgow Warriors this season – rounding off the forwards at number eight.

Experienced fly-half Luciano Orquera gets the nod in the number ten jersey, pairing up again with Kiwi Brendon Leonard; the lynchpin of the side.

Points machine Gonzalo Garcia lines up at inside centre, with the exciting Leonardo Sarto and Giovanbattista Venditti on the wings.

The teams:

Zebre: 15 David Odiete, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Tommaso Iannone, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Samuela Vunisa, 7 Andries van Schalkwyk, 6 Filippo Cristiano, 5 George Biagi, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys (c), 3 Dario Chistolini, 2 Davide Giazzoni, 1 Matias Aguero
Replacements: 16 Tommaso D'Apice, 17 Andrea De Marchi, 18 Dave Ryan, 19 Michael van Vuren, 20 Filippo Ferrarini, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Kameli Ratuvou, 23 Dion Berryman.

Edinburgh: 15 Jack Cuthbert, 14 Tom Brown, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Carl Bezuidenhout, 9 Sean Kennedy, 8 Dave Denton, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 Mike Coman (c), 5 Ollie Atkins, 4 Ben Toolis, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Wicus Blaauw
Replacements: 16 James Hilterbrand, 17 Alasdair Dickinson, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Alex Toolis, 20 Cornell Du Preez, 21 Grayson Hart, 22 Harry Leonard, 23 Sam Beard.

Date: Saturday 19th April
Venue: Stadio XXV Aprile
Kick-off: 1530 local, 1430 BST
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ire)
Assistant referees: Matteo Liperini, Andrea Spadoni (both Ita)
TMO: Carlo Damasco (Ita)