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Preview: Edinburgh v Munster

29th September 2011 11:51

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Lewis Niven

Lewis Nevin: Returns to starting XV

Edinburgh Head Coach Michael Bradley has made two changes to his pack and one to the back-line for Friday's RaboDirect PRO12 clash against Munster.

Prop Lewis Niven and second-rower Grant Gilchrist are included in the starting XV with Shaun Knight and Steven Turnbull the men to make way. Knight has to be satisfied with a place on the bench while Turnbull drops out of the 23-man squad.

Matt Scott also returns to the run-on side and his inclusion at outside centre has led to a reshuffle in the back-line. Jim Thompson regains the number fifteen jersey with Tom Brown moving to the bench.

Edinburgh can expect a tough battle at Murrayfield on Friday as Munster are the defending champions and are also setting the pace in the standings.

Bradley believes competing at the breakdowns will be a key area.

"Munster are a side that are historically strong in the RaboDirect PRO12, they're the current champions and are off to a great start this season, so it's a good target for us to aim for," Bradley told a press conference on Thursday.

"Munster are, amongst other things, very competitive at the breakdown. We have to be conscious of their strong kicking game and of the positional pressure points they'll try to do squeeze.

"We need to be consistent in our delivery, accurate in our play (in attack and defence) and maintain absolute concentration for the full 80 minutes; if we do that we'll create opportunities and we'll score. If we don't, Munster will punish us.

"When we compete and go forward with quality ball, supporters will see some quality attacking play while, on the Munster side, they will look to keep it tight, put pressure on us and play in the right areas.

"Contrasting styles will be on display from the two sides and hopefully the home side will prevail."

Meanwhile, Munster coach Tony McGahan has tinkered with his team for Friday's clash with no fewer than 10 changes to the side that beat Cardiff Blues last week.

James Coughlan will miss the match due to a neck injury and Paddy Butler will take his place at number eight. Tom Gleeson, Peter Stringer, Denis Fogarty, John Hayes and Dave Foley, who started on the bench against the Blues, move into the starting XV.

There are also a couple of positional changes with Johne Murphy handed the number fourteen shirt and Scott Deasy taking over at full-back. Tommy O'Donnell switches to number six to allow Niall Ronan to return to his more familiar position.

Foley will make only his second start for Munster and he will be paired with veteran Mick O'Driscoll in the second row.

The 23-year-old Foley admits he has already learned a lot from O'Driscoll.

"Micko is obviously a massive influence," he told the official Munster website.

"Not just for me, for all around him. You can learn a huge amount from him. It is great at this stage of a fella's career to be paired with him. He really is a huge figure for us."

Form: Edinburgh's only victory in their last five matches in the RaboDirect PRO12 was 19-14 at home to Connacht in round three, whilst the Scotsmen's single defeat in their last five encounters at Murrayfield was 15-38 to Cardiff Blues on 2 September. Defending champions Munster stretched their record breaking winning run to 14 matches with victory over the Blues on Friday. The Munstermen's most recent reversal in the tournament was 18-19 in Treviso on 13 February. Munster have not lost to a team from Scotland since their visit to Edinburgh on 23 October 2009. Edinburgh have won just one of their last nine clashes with Munster: 12-7 at Murrayfield on 23 October 2009. Munster are the last Irish side to win at Murrayfield in the competition, doing so on 10 September 2010.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Edinburgh:15 Jim Thompson, 14 Lee Jones, 13 Matt Scott, 12 James King, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Gregor Hunter, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Stuart McInally, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 David Denton, 5 Sean Cox, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Lewis Niven, 2 Steven Lawrie, 1 Kyle Traynor.
Replacements: 16 Alun Walker, 17 Robin Hislop, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Esteban Lozada, 20 Hamish Watson, 21 Chris Leck, 22 Phil Godman, 23 Tom Brown.

Munster: 15 Scott Deasy, 14 Johne Murphy, 13 Tom Gleeson, 12 Lifeimi Mafi, 11 Denis Hurley, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Paddy Butler, 7 Niall Ronan, 6 Tommy O'Donnell, 5 Mick O'Driscoll, 4 Dave Foley, 3 John Hayes, 2 Denis Fogarty, 1 Wian du Preez.
Replacements: Replacements: 16 Mike Sherry, 17 John Ryan, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Ian Nagle, 20 Peter O'Mahony, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 Danny Barnes, 23 Simon Zebo.

Date: Friday, September 29
Venue: Murrayfield Stadium
Kick-off: 19.30 BST (18.30 GMT)
Referee: Leighton Hodges
Assistant Referees: Cammy Rudkin, Graeme Marshall

  • Munster Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , December 6
Munster vs Clermont Auvergne15:15
Sunday , December 14
Clermont Auvergne vs Munster15:15
Saturday , January 17
Saracens vs MunsterTBC
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Saturday , November 1
Cardiff Blues vs Munster17:15
Saturday , November 22
Newport Gwent D'gons vs MunsterTBC
Friday , November 28
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Saturday , December 20
Glasgow vs Munster14:40
Friday , December 26
Munster vs Leinster17:00
Saturday , January 10
Zebre vs Munster16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
  • Munster Results
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , October 18
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 10
Munster 17 - 6 Scarlets
Saturday , October 4
Leinster 23 - 34 MunsterLeinster vs Munster Report
Saturday , September 27
Munster 14 - 19 Ospreys
Friday , September 19
Munster 31 - 5 Zebre
Friday , September 12
Benetton Treviso 10 - 21 Munster
Friday , September 5
Munster 13 - 14 Edinburgh
More Guinness PRO12 results
  • Table
Pool 1
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens15
2Munster14
3Sale Sharks11
4Clermont Auvergne11