Preview: Leinster v Edinburgh

12th Apr 2012, 13:17

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Feeling confident: Edinburgh

Feeling confident: Edinburgh

The RaboDirect PRO12 returns on Friday when Edinburgh face fellow Heineken Cup semi-finalists Leinster at the RDS.


The RaboDirect PRO12 returns on Friday when Edinburgh face fellow Heineken Cup semi-finalists Leinster at the RDS.

The capital clubs made the last four with home wins over Cardiff Blues and Toulouse in Dublin and Edinburgh respectively and now head into two rounds of Pro12 rugby, before returning to the penultimate round of Europe's top tier cup competition.

Coincidentally the Dubliners follow Friday's match with a trip to Belfast, where they will face Edinburgh's Heineken Cup semi-final opponents Ulster, while the Scots head for Cardiff, completing a mini-series of top-class European rugby in which the clubs will seek to retain their winning momentum.

Edinburgh will look to do so in the back yard of a side eleven points clear at the top of the Pro12 and just one win away from securing a coveted home play-off spot.

Coach Michael Bradley has made just one personnel change to the squad that toppled Toulouse, but has sought to refresh the front-line with five changes to the first-choice fifteen.

Scrum-half Chris Leck is the only change to the back division, continuing where he left off in the Toulouse game, having replaced the injured Mike Blair (shoulder) at the interval.

Kyle Traynor replaces the injured Allan Jacobsen (face) at loosehead prop, with Esteban Lozada reintroduced to the squad to start alongside Sean Cox in the second row.

Finally, the club's healthy back-row options are rotated as Stuart McInally and Roddy Grant swap places with David Denton and Ross Rennie respectively.

Meanwhile, Jamie Heaslip captains Leinster and is one of three survivors in the starting XV from last weekend's Heineken Cup quarter-final win.

In all there are eight Ireland internationals in the line-up with Heaslip joined in the back-row by Shane Jennings and Rhys Ruddock.

Damian Browne makes his 20th appearance of the season and partners Devin Toner at lock, with Sean Cronin joining Heinke van der Merwe and Nathan White in the front row after the trio featured in the 34-3 victory over the Cardiff Blues last weekend.

Isaac Boss partners Ian Madigan (who is second in the PRO12's try-scoring list this season with seven in 17 games so far) at half-back. Madigan is in line to make his 45th Leinster appearance with Fergus McFadden lining up in the midfield alongside Gordon D'Arcy.

Fionn Carr, winger David Kearney and Isa Nacewa complete the line-up.

Kevin McLaughlin, Eoin Reddan and Richardt Strauss are named amongst a replacements bench which sees a blend of youth and experience including 21-year-old prop Martin Moore who could make his debut for the province whom he previously captained at U20 level.

Form: The Leinstermen are unbeaten in their last four games against Scottish opponents since Glasgow won at the RDS in September. Leinster's only defeat in their last 23 matches in all competitions was 22-23 at home to Ospreys in the RaboDirect PRO12 on March 23, while Edinburgh's only away win in the PRO12 since October 2010 was in Treviso last November. The Scotsmen have lost their last five encounters against Irish provinces. Edinburgh's only victory over Leinster since April 2009 was 32-24 at Murrayfield on 24 September 2010, whilst Edinburgh have not won on Leinster soil since a visit to Donnybrook in November 2005.

The teams:

Leinster: 15 Isa Nacewa, 14 David Kearney, 13 Fergus McFadden, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Fionn Carr, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Jamie Heaslip (c), 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Damian Browne, 3 Nathan White, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Heinke van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Martin Moore, 19 Kevin McLaughlin, 20 Leo Auva'a, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Noel Reid, 23 Brendan Macken.

Edinburgh: 15 Tom Brown, 14 Lee Jones, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Greig Laidlaw (c), 9 Chris Leck, 8 Netani Talei, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 Stuart McInally, 5 Sean Cox, 4 Esteban Lozada, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Kyle Traynor
Replacements: 16 Andrew Kelly, 17 Robin Hislop, 18 Jack Gilding, 19 Grant Gilchrist, 20 David Denton, 21 Ross Rennie, 22 Phil Godman, 23 Jim Thompson

Date: Friday, 13 April
Venue: RDS
Kick-off: 19:45
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon