Planet Rugby

Preview: Connacht v Edinburgh

30th November 2012 06:27

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SKY_MOBILE Greig Laidlaw

Back for Edinburgh: Greig Laidlaw

Edinburgh coach Michael Bradley has pitched five of the club's returning Scotland internationalists back in to the side for Saturday's clash with Connacht at the Sportsground.

The club carved out a well-earned win from RaboDirect PRO12 champions Ospreys last Friday and have selected a strong squad in a quest to secure a second successive win at a ground at which they've had no success since 2008.

"It was very important that we got a win last weekend, we badly needed to get a 'W' on the board. It's been great for our confidence as we've prepared for Saturday's game," said Bradley, formerly director of rugby at the Galway club.

"Connacht target the arrival of the visiting Scottish sides because they feel they've an excellent chance of winning those games.

"We've talked about that a lot at training this week as something we have to change.

"In the past we might not have brought the Scotland players straight back in and maybe given them the weekend off after the Tests, but it's vital that we build on the momentum from the Ospreys match, and have picked a strong side with the aim of doing just that."

Coming back into the fold are captain Greig Laidlaw at fly-half; Matt Scott and Nick De Luca continue their club and country partnership in midfield, Tim Visser steps back on to the wing and David Denton packs down on the blindside of the scrum.

Denton's return sees Sean Cox move back to his favoured position at lock to partner Perry Parker who impressed in his first start against Ospreys last week.

Hooker Andy Titterrell replaces the injured Ross Ford (shoulder) and Allan Jacobsen is offered the chance to impress from the outset at loose-head prop.

The remainder of the back-line is unchanged with Greig Tonks (full-back), Tom Brown (wing) and Richie Rees (scrum-half) all earning reselection.

More to follow...

Form: Connacht's last six RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures have all been won by the home side on the day. The Irishmen have won just one of their last five games against Scottish opponents: 26-13 over Edinburgh in this equivalent match last season. Edinburgh Rugby's seven game losing streak in all competitions came to an end with their 23-13 home win over Ospreys on Friday. Edinburgh's solo away victory since January remains the 21-19 win at Cardiff Blues on 7 September. Edinburgh have lost their last 11 encounters with Irish provinces since they beat Munster 29-14 at Murrayfield on 30 September 2011. The last seven clashes between the two teams have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst Edinburgh's most recent victory in Galway came on 24 October 2008.

The teams:

Connacht:

Edinburgh: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Tom Brown, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Greig Laidlaw (c), 9 Richie Rees, 8 Stuart McInally, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 David Denton, 5 Sean Cox, 4 Perry Parker, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Andy Titterrell, 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16 Alun Walker, 17 John Yapp, 18 Lewis Niven, 19 Robert McAlpine, 20 Izak van der Westhuizen, 21 Chris Leck, 22 Gregor Hunter, 23 Dougie Fife.

Date: Saturday, December 1
Kick-off: 17:00
Venue: The Sportsground
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant referees: Leo Colgan (Ireland), Eddie Hogan-O'Connell (Ireland)
Television match official: Jude Quinn (Ireland)
Assessor: Jack Young (Ireland)

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