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Preview: Edinburgh v Saracens

12th October 2012 09:49

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Tim Visser Edinburgh 2012

On the wing: Tim Visser

Edinburgh have named their strongest available side for their Heineken Cup opener against Saracens on Saturday.

The Scottish club were unbeaten at home in the competition last season, winning a clean sweep of pool games before knocking four-time former champions, Toulouse, out of the quarter-final to become the first Scottish side to make the semis.

Head coach Michael Bradley has made six changes to the starting line-up, with Scottish and Welsh internationalists Tom Brown and Richie Rees returning to start at full-back and scrum-half, in place of the injured Greig Tonks and Chris Leck, who moves to the replacements bench.

Between Brown and Rees starts a familiar Scottish back division of captain Greig Laidlaw, centres Matt Scott and Nick De Luca, and wide men Lee Jones and Tim Visser, who contributed seven of the club's nineteen-try haul last year.

Up front Bradley has handed the starting berths to props John Yapp and Willem Nel, who pack down either side of Scotland captain Ross Ford.

Grant Gilchrist and Sean Cox start in the second-row, with the forwards completed by flankers Ross Rennie and David Denton, with Stuart McInally at number eight.

Meanwhile, Saracens have recalled Mako Vunipola, Schalk Brits, Mouritz Botha, Kelly Brown, Brad Barritt, Chris Ashton and Alex Goode to their starting line-up. Ernst Joubert misses the game through injury.

On the bench, George Kruis and Andy Saull continue their comebacks from injury with Owen Farrell, John Smit, Rhys Gill and Chris Wyles among those also named as replacements.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Edinburgh: 15 Tom Brown, 14 Lee Jones, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Greig Laidlaw (capt), 9 Richie Rees, 8 Stuart McInally, 7 Ross Rennie, 6 David Denton, 5 Sean Cox, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 John Yapp.
Replacements: 16 Andy Titterrell, 17 Allan Jacobsen, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Robert McAlpine, 20 Netani Talei, 21 Chris Leck, 22 Harry Leonard, 23 Dougie Fife.

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 David Strettle, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Steve Borthwick (capt), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 John Smit, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 George Kruis, 20 Andy Saull, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Chris Wyles.

Date: Saturday, October 13
Kick-off: 13:35 BST
Venue: Murrayfield
Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Michael Black (Ireland), Olly Hodges (Ireland)
Television match official: Peter Ferguson (Ireland)
Timekeeper: John Montgomery (Scotland)
Assessor: Jim Fleming (Scotland)
Citing commissioner: Maurizio Vancini (Italy)

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PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615