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Preview: Edinburgh v Perpignan

10th January 2014 09:54

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Powerhouse: Dave Denton

Edinburgh boss Alan Solomons says his side feel refreshed as they prepare to welcome Heineken Cup rivals Perpignan to Murrayfield.

The postponement of the New Year's Day derby against Glasgow Warriors resulted in a 10-day turnaround for the Murrayfield men, whose attention turned quickly to extending their stay in European Cup competition on Saturday.

Solomons believes that, on balance, the rest has served his squad well, despite the disruption to regular rugby.

"It meant that we haven't had continuity in playing and lost a bit of rhythm but, on the up side, a lot of the players needed a rest and I think it will stand us in good stead," said Solomons.

"The players have looked refreshed in training and I think it was beneficial for them, physically and mentally."

"If we want to continue in Europe then we need to win this game", added Solomons.

"There is no doubt that Perpignan are a good side. They are very powerful and have great strength in depth like most Top 14 teams.

"It will be big challenge for us, there is no question about that. They are a good team with lethal strike power.

"We need to make sure that we do not create opportunities for them, which means cutting our error rate and maintaining our discipline in our systems."

Solomons has made one change to the side that was set to start on New Year's Day, with lock Izak van der Westhuizen back in the front line after his gradual return from injury (groin).

The club also welcome the return of centre Matt Scott, who starts on the bench, having recovered from the hand injury he sustained playing for Scotland against Japan in the November Tests.

Meanwhile Perpignan name flyer Wandile Mjekevu, who tore Edinburgh apart when these sides last met, on the left wing for the Murrayfield clash.

Welsh internationals James Hook and Luke Charteris start at full-back and second-row respectively, with former Saracen Richard Haughton on the right wing.

The departing Sebastien Vahaamahina partners Charteris in the engine room, while the rangy Dan Leo lines up on the blindside flank.

The teams:

Edinburgh: 15 Jack Cuthbert, 14 Dougie Fife, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Ben Atiga, 11 Tom Brown, 10 Greig Tonks, 9 Greig Laidlaw (c), 8 Dave Denton, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 Cornell du Preez, 5 Izak van der Westhuien, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Al Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Aleki Lutui, 17 Wicus Blaauw, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Tomas Leonardi, 21 Grayson Hart, 22 Carl Bezuidenhout, 23 Matt Scott.

Perpignan: 15 James Hook, 14 Richard Haughton, 13 Lifeimi Mafi, 12 Sione Piukala, 11 Wandile Mjekevu, 10 Tommy Allan, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Karl Chateau, 7 Jean-Pierre Perez, 6 Dan Leo, 5 Luke Charteris, 4 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 3 Paulica Ion, 2 Guilhelm Guirado (c), 1 Sona Taumalolo.
Replacements: 16 Maxime Delonca, 17 Jean Baptiste Custoja, 18 Kisi Pulu, 19 Luke Narraway, 20 Tom Ecochard, 21 David Marty, 22 Joffrey Michel, 23 Guillaume Vilaceca.

Date: Saturday 10th January
Venue: Murrayfield
Kick-off: 1800 (local and GMT)
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ire)
Assistant referees: Mark Patton, Richard Kerr (both Ire)
TMO: Marshall Kilgore (Ire)

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