Planet Rugby

Preview: Edinburgh v Glasgow

22nd December 2011 13:48

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Edinburgh and Glasgow players Ryan Grant and Geoff Cross right

Ready to face off: Ryan Grant and Geoff Cross

It's East versus West in the Scottish derby at Murrayfield on Boxing Day for the first of the back-to-back RaboDirect PRO12 festive fixtures.

Glasgow Warriors, who currently lie in the final Play-Off spot, will be hoping set a new unbeaten record for the team, however Edinburgh have lost just once at Murrayfield in their last six games.

Glasgow will look to become only the third team to win at Murrayfield this season when they travel along the M8.

With their east coast rivals in free-scoring form, Sean Lineen's men are well aware that they must deliver a much slicker all-round performance than was the case in the recent Heineken Cup double-header against Montpellier.

"We've been encouraged by the run we've put together in the RaboDirect PRO12 and the battling qualities of the team that have been very evident in those games," Lineen told glasgowwarriors.org.

"It's a real sign of the progress we've made, and of the expectations the players have for each other, that we were actually a bit disappointed to only draw away to a team who missed out on winning the French championship by a hair's breadth a few months before.

"That frustration comes from the fact that we know there's a lot more in this team's locker, particularly in terms of what we can offer in attack.

"Edinburgh have set the bar high in that regard, scoring lots of tries, so it's up to us to show both that we can cope with their threat and bring out more of ours."

Glasgow have made four changes to the side ran out at the Stade Yves du Manoir last Saturday.

Three of the personnel switches come in the backline, where David Lemi (ineligible for the Heineken Cup) returns on the wing in place of Federico Aramburu, leading tournament points scorer Duncan Weir replaces Ruaridh Jackson at fly-half after impressing off the bench in southern France, and Graeme Morrison comes in at inside centre. Troy Nathan stays in the team, but will wear the number 13 jersey this time.

Up front, there is just a single change. Rob Harley, who missed the trip to Montpellier with a hand injury, takes up his customary role at blindside flanker, with John Barclay moving to openside.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh Head coach Michael Bradley has made one change to his side.

Scotland international Ross Rennie comes in as a straight swap for open-side flanker Roddy Grant, while the coach will wait to confirm the availability of prop Allan Jacobsen after the fans' favourite sustained a head knock in the club's Heineken Cup win over Cardiff Blues on Friday.

The Murrayfield match is the first taste of the Scottish derby for Bradley, who took the reins of the capital club after seven years in charge of Irish province, Connacht, this summer.

"Like all derbies, fans can get very personal with strong opinions about which team they support and why," he said.

"I think the perception of Edinburgh Rugby is changing. When we get the physicality right, we can be a very intimidating side. That, combined with our known strengths in attack and counter-attack, and the quality of our recent defensive performances, presents a formidable challenge to any team.

"Individual rivalries are obviously a factor in this match, with national team selection an exciting component to a day where you will see players, who compete for the same position at an international level, go head-to-head.

"Part of the equation for those players progressing into international rugby is that they're involved in a winning side and that's our objective, first and foremost, on Boxing Day."

Form: Edinburgh Rugby's last five games have all been won by the home side on the day. Edinburgh have won two of their last three encounters in the RaboDirect PRO12, and have lost just once at Murrayfield in their last six games: 15-38 to Leinster on 28 October. If Glasgow Warriors can avoid defeat they will set a new Glasgow record for the longest unbeaten run in the history of this tournament - currently standing at six matches. The Warriors have not won on the road since a trip to Aironi on 5 November. Each side won its respective home game in this fixture last season, whilst Glasgow's only previous win at Murrayfield was 22-15 on 2 January 2010.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Edinburgh: 15 Chris Paterson, 14 Lee Jones, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 James King, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Greig Laidlaw (c), 9 Mike Blair, 8 Netani Talei, 7 Ross Rennie, 6 David Denton, 5 Sean Cox, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Allan Jacobsen/Kyle Traynor.
Replacements: 16 Alun Walker, 17 Kyle Traynor/Robin Hislop, 18 Jack Gilding, 19 Esteban Lozada, 20 Roddy Grant, 21 Phil Godman, 22 Matt Scott, 23 Jim Thompson.

Glasgow: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 David Lemi, 13 Troy Nathan, 12 Graeme Morrison, 11 Rory Lamont, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 John Barclay, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Al Kellock, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Mike Cusack, 2 Pat MacArthur, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Dougie Hall, 17 Jon Welsh, 18 Moray Low, 19 Tom Ryder, 20 Henry Pyrgos, 21 Chris Fusaro, 22 Colin Shaw, 23 Ruaridh Jackson.

Date: Monday 26 December
Venue: Murrayfield
Kick-off: 17.35 GMT
Referee: Neil Paterson (SRU)

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Saturday , September 6
Ospreys vs Benetton TrevisoTBC
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PosTeamPPts
1Leinster2282
2Glasgow Warriors2279
3Munster2274
4Ulster2270
5Ospreys2266