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Leinster Rugby vs Edinburgh Rugby
Guinness Pro12 Round 7
RDS Showground, Dublin,
Friday, 31st October 2014, 19:35

Television: Live - TG4

With two wins from two in Europe, Leinster are off to a solid if unspectacular start in that tournament. As predicted, the match itself was fairly dire in terms of attacking rugby and it was remarkable to see a Leinster team with so much possession and territory fail to create a single decent try-scoring chance. But they did what they had to do purely in terms of getting a result.

Leinster will look forward to the up-coming three week break in the hopes of getting some of the walking wounded back fit. First though, they take on Edinburgh tomorrow night at the RDS. Edinburgh are very much the junior partners in Scottish rugby now. Glasgow have pulled well away from them and are not only riding high in the Pro12, they're also finally translating that good form in getting results in Europe.

Edinburgh can only look on jealously as they're stuck in the Challenge Cup for the first time. They did at least manage two wins in the last two weeks over Bordeaux-Begles and Lyon, but the French clubs are showing minimal interest in the tournament this season. In the Pro12 their form has been up and down with an opening day win over Munster in Thomond Park the highlight of their season so far, with a 62-13 hammering from the Ospreys being the undoubted lowlight.

For once Leinster are facing a team with a longer injury list then them as Edinburgh are missing 18 players due to injury. In a largely unfamiliar looking team names like Tim Visser, Dougie Fife and Tom Heathcoate stand out in the backs and WP Nel and David Denton in the pack, but frankly it's a fairly bare looking line-up.

For Leinster fans the big news is that they'll get a first chance to look at new signing Ben Te'o who arrives from Australian Rugby League side the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Te'o is a powerful and abrasive individual and he's named at outside centre with Noel Reid on the inside. With several Ireland squad members unavailable, there's nine changes to the team that started last weekend. The back three is the only unchanged unit in the side with Zane Kirchner and Luke Fitzgerald lining out with Darragh Fanning, who's starting his ninth game in a row, something almost unheard of at this stage of the season.

Luke McGrath comes in for his second senior Leinster start at scrum-half alongside Jimmy Gopperth, who'll take over the kicking duties this week with Ian Madigan missing. In the pack Michael Bent moves over from tighthead to loosehead in the front row and Richardt Strauss and Tadhg Furlong move up from the bench to start alongside him. Tom Denton comes into the second row alongside Kane Douglas while Kevin McLaughlin is back from injury to skipper the side from blindside alongside Jack Conan and Dominic Ryan. The bench is an inexperienced one with five academy members of which Peter Dooley and Dan Leavy will be hoping to make their senior debuts.

Even with their relative lack of experience in the squad, this Leinster team should be good enough to win comfortably against a callow looking Edinburgh line-up.

Team Lineups

Leinster Rugby
Edinburgh Rugby
Teams Zane Kirchner 15 Nick Mclennan
Darragh Fanning 14 Dougie Fife
Ben Te'o
13 Joaquin Dominguez
Noel Reid 12 Andries Strauss (C)
Luke Fitzgerald
11 Tim Visser
Jimmy Gopperth 10 Tom Heathcote
Luke McGrath 9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne

Michael Bent 1 Allan Dell
Richardt Strauss 2 James Hilterbrand
Tadhg Furlong 3 Willem Nel
Tom Denton 4 Ben Toolis
Kane Douglas 5 Jack Turley
Kevin McLaughlin (C)
6 Magnus Bradbury
Dominic Ryan 7 Tomas Leonardi
Jack Conan 8 David Denton

Replacements Bryan Byrne 16 Jake Kerr
Ed Byrne 17 Rory Sutherland
Peter Dooley 18 John Andress
Ben Marshall 19 Jamie Ritchie
Dan Leavy 20
George Turner
Isaac Boss21 Sean Kennedy
Steve Crosbie 22 Greig Tonks
Mick McGrath 23 Jack Cuthbert

Not Considered
due to Injury
Jordi Murphy,
Dave Kearney,
Colin O'Shea,
Tom Daly,
Shane Jennings,
Sean O'Brien,
Cian Healy,
Fergus McFadden,
Martin Moore,
Rob Kearney,
Mike Ross

Ollie Atkins,
Sam Beard,
Carl Bezuidenhuit,
Anton Bresler,
Phil Burleigh,
Neil Cochrane,
Mike Coman,
Cornell Du Preez,
Jamie Farndale,
Grant Gilchrist,
Roddy Grant,
Stuart McInally,
Fraser McKenzie,
Matt Scott,
Michael Tai,
Alex Toolis,
Brett Thompson,
Hamish Watson
Officials Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU, 115th competition game),
Assistant Referees: David Wilkinson, Stuart Douglas (both IRFU),
Citing Commissioner: Eugene Ryan (IRFU),
TMO: Kevin Beggs (IRFU)

by Jim O'Connor, © 2014-10-30

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