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Preview: Edinburgh v Dragons

12th September 2013 13:22

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Alan Solomons

Making changes: Alan Solomons

Edinburgh coach Alan Solomons has made wholesale changes in the backs for his team's first home match of the season against the Dragons.

Nikki Walker makes his debut for the Scottish side and Tim Visser will patrol the opposite wing in a double change at the back.

"I think this is a really good opportunity for Tim [Visser] and Nikki [Walker] to get involved. They're back to full fitness, which is a big positive for us, and it's great to have them in the team," Solomons told Edinburgh's official website.

In the other changes to the back division, fly-half Harry Leonard is handed his first start in place of the injured Piers Francis (ankle) while an injury to Ben Atiga (knee) gives Nick De Luca and Dougie Fife the opportunity to start in the inside and outside centre positions.

The only change to the pack see's Dimitri Basilaia start on the side of the scrum in place of Sean Cox, while South African prop Wicus Blaauw could make his first appearance for the club off the bench.

"It would be fantastic to get the home section of our campaign underway with a win but in order to achieve that we need a good performance," said Solomons.

"If we get a good performance then everything will flow from it. It's all about the way we play.

"We know what we want to do, we need to execute our strategy well and we need to play well, if we do that we'll get the result we deserve."

Meanwhile, the Welsh side are in a confident mood ahead of their trip to Murrayfield.

"Edinburgh have a tradition of some good attacking expansive rugby and their product has developed over the last few years," Dragons director of rugby Lyn Jones told the club's website.

"They played decent rugby against Munster but at the same time I am sure that they will be disappointed about their defensive errors.

"Following Fridays performance against Ulster we are cautiously optimistic about our trip to Murrayfield.

"Our game against Ulster was optimistic and accurate; we need to build on that as we come across the challenges ahead.

"We as a new coaching team are still finding out a lot about players and see this coming month as an opportunity to find out a lot more about the players."

Form:Edinburgh Rugby began their 2013/14 RaboDirect PRO12 campaign with a 23-34 defeat to Munster in Cork. The Scotsmen have won two of their last three games at Murrayfield, but only managed to wine three of eight fixtures against Welsh opponents last season.Newport Gwent Dragons defeated last season's PRO12 finalists, Ulster, at Rodney Parade on Friday and have never before started a season with back to back wins. The Dragons have slipped to three successive away defeats and have not beaten a Scottish opponent since last September.The Men from Gwent have won six of their last eight clashes with Edinburgh and have also been victorious on three of their last six visits to Murrayfield.

The teams:

Edinburgh: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Nikki Walker, 13 Dougie Fife, 12 Nick De Luca, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Harry Leonard, 9 Sean Kennedy, 8 David Denton, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 Dimitri Basilaia, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Ross Ford (c), 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements 16 Aleki Luitui, 17 Wicus Blaauw, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Sean Cox, 20 Hamish Watson, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Michael Tait, 23 Jack Cuthbert.

Dragons 15 Dan Evans, 14 Matthew Pewtner, 13 Pat Leach, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Netani Talei, 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Lewis Evans, 5 Matthew Screech, 4 Dan Way, 3 Adam Jones, 2 T.Rhys Thomas (c), 1 Owen Evans.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Gustafson, 17 Phil Price, 18 Francisco Chaparro, 19 Rob Sidoli, 20 Toby Faletau, 21 Jonathan Evans, 22 Kris Burton, 23 Ross Wardle.

Date: 13 September
Venue:Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Referee: Dudley Phillips (Ireland)
Assistant referees: David Changleng (Scotland), Stephen Ward (Scotland)

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