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Edinburgh Rugby vs Leinster Rugby
Guinness Pro12 Round 3
Murrayfield, Edinburgh,
Friday, 16th September 2016, 19:35

Television: Live: TG4/BBC Alba

By dint of some strange Pro12 scheduling Leinster face into their second match in six days in Scotland tomorrow evening. It's fair to say Scotland hasn't been a happy hunting ground of late for Leinster with only one win in their last eight visits (if you count the Pro12 final hosted in Murrayfield). Last week's defeat to the Warriors was particularly annoying as it looked so promising at one point. Leinster had taken a 10 point lead well into the second half and Glasgow were looking frustrated by Leinster's defence but then Tommy Seymour showed his supreme poaching skills to turn the game on it's head with two tries from Leinster errors in two minutes. Leinster still should have taken something from the game, but the composure they showed earlier in the match was now gone and they rushed things at the end.

It was galling to leave with nothing but Leinster can still take positives from a performance that put it up to the Pro12 favourites. Joey Carbery was arguably having an even better all-round match than the week before until his pass was intercepted by Seymour. He was running the game beautifully with his tactical kicking and range of passing and stood in extremely well as the place-kicker too after Fergus McFadden's late withdrawal. He made a mistake, but far more experienced out-halves have been picked off by Seymour, so he shouldn't take it to heart. There were other positives in some excellent attacking play, plus some fine breakdown work and line-speed from the defence for a decent portion of the game. However ultimately Leinster conceded five tries, a couple of them very soft, and that defensive intensity needs to be improved.

They will be determined not to leave empty handed tomorrow night against an Edinburgh team with an identical record to them at the moment, one win from two, no bonus points. Edinburgh have certainly improved under Alan Solomons and have become a harder side to beat. However they've yet to see any real progression for all that, finishing a disappointed ninth in the league last season. Solomons makes three changes - two personnel and one positional - from the team that defeated Scarlets 20-9 last weekend. They all come in the backrow as Tongan internationalist Viliami Fihaki makes his competitive debut for the club at number 8. This means Magnus Bradbury switches to blindside and at openside, Hamish Watson replaces John Hardie who sustained a head knock last week. WP Nel makes his 100th Edinburgh appearance

For Leinster, their skipper Isa Nacewa returns from injury to start his first game of the season on the right wing. This means Zane Kirchner moves inside to replace the injured Rob Kearney at full back. The only other change to the backline sees Jamison Gibson-Park make his first start at scrum-half. It's all change in the pack though with a large number of returning Ireland internationals making their first start of the season. Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin and Mike Ross all come in to start in the front row. Devin Toner comes in to partner Mike McCarthy in the second row. In the back row Jamie Heaslip's return at number eight sees Jordi Murphy move to blindside and Dan Leavy shift to open-side.

It's strong Leinster pack and if they can provide good quality ball, Gibson-Park and Carbery could open up some real gaps for the backs. Edinburgh are tough to beat at home though so expect more of an arm wrestle tomorrow evening that hopefully Leinster can edge.

Team Lineups

Edinburgh Rugby

Leinster Rugby
Teams Glenn Bryce 15 Zane Kirchner
Michael Allen 14 Isa Nacewa (C)
Sasa Tofilau 13 Garry Ringrose
Phil Burleigh 12 Noel Reid
Tom Brown 11 Dave Kearney
Duncan Weir 10 Joey Carbery
Nathan Fowles 9 Jamison Gibson-Park

Rory Sutherland 1 Jack McGrath
Ross Ford 2 Sean Cronin
WP Nel 3 Mike Ross
Ben Toolis 4 Devin Toner
Grant Gilchrist (C)
5 Mike McCarthy
Magnus Bradbury 6 Jordi Murphy
Hamish Watson 7 Dan Leavy
Viliami Fihaki 8 Jamie Heaslip

Replacements Stuart McInally 16 Bryan Byrne
Allan Dell 17 Cian Healy
Kevin Bryce 18 Tadhg Furlong
Fraser McKenzie 19 Ross Molony
Cornell Du Preez 20
Josh van der Flier
Sam Hidalgo-Clyne 21 Luke McGrath
Solomoni Rasolea 22 Cathal Marsh
Blair Kinghorn 23 Rory O'Loughlin

Not Considered
Due to Injury
Alasdair Dickinson,
Simon Berghan,
Anton Bresler,
Jack Cosgrove,
John Hardie,
Nasi Manu,
Jason Tovey,
Will Helu,
Damien Hoyland

Edward Byrne,
Jack Conan,
Sean O'Brien,
Richardt Strauss,
Rhys Ruddock,
Ian Fitzpatrick,
Billy Dardis,
Johnny Sexton,
Robbie Henshaw,
Ian Nagle,
Rob Kearney,
Fergus McFadden
Officials Referee: David Wilkinson (IRFU, 43rd competition game),
Assistant Referees: Emanuele Tomo (FIR), Bob Nevins (SRU),
Citing Commissioner: Paul Minto (SRU),
TMO: Carlo Damasco (FIR)

by Jim O'Connor, © 2016-09-15