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Edinburgh Rugby vs Leinster Rugby
Guinness Pro12 Round 22
Murrayfield, Edinburgh,
Saturday, 16th May 2015, 15:00

Television: Live - BBC Alba

So, Leinster's worst season in ten years finally grinds to an end tomorrow. Normally there's a touch of sadness amongst Leinster fans when the rugby season ends, but this may feel like more like a blessed relief after all the abysmal rugby they've had to endure this term. Even allowing for the conditions, last week's game against Treviso was typically depressing stuff. Once again Leinster made a bright start, scoring an early try, but once again the game degenerated into a sludge-fest of witless and incompetent rugby. Despite what they themselves say in the press, it's fairly clear that this Leinster team are playing with no belief at the moment.

At least the Dragons did them a favour by beating Edinburgh which guaranteed Leinster a spot in the top six. Leinster still need two points from this game to make sure they finish ahead of the Scarlets in fifth place. This will mean they will be in the third pool of seeds for the draw for the European Champions Cup instead of the fourth. However it's fairly clear that Leinster are in for a horrible draw regardless, so how much motivation this will really provide is debatable.

Edinburgh will certainly be going for it as they're still battling with Connacht to at least finish seventh and go into the play-offs with the English and French clubs for Champions Cup qualification. After a poor start to the season, the side from the capital have improved greatly under the guidance of Alan Solomons. They lost narrowly in the Challenge Cup final to Gloucester and had genuine top six ambitions until they lost to the Dragons last week. With the Scarlets unlikely to drop points away to Treviso, seventh is probably the best they'll do but it will still be progress on last season. They'll be hoping Connacht get nothing from their game at home to the Ospreys but they'll still most likely need at least two points from tomorrow.

Solomons has made four changes to the team who started last weekend against Dragons. Tom Heathcote comes in at stand-off, to replace the injured Phil Burleigh in an otherwise unchanged backline that features Sam Hidlago-Clyne, one of the leagues stand-outs this season. Belfast-born John Andress starts at tighthead prop and Anton Bresler comes in at lock in place of Fraser McKenzie who moves to blindside in place of the injured Stuart McInally in the final change.

For Leinster fans, sadly there is no chance for a final sight of Shane Jennings in the blue jersey as once again he is omitted from the squad. The Leinster pack is unchanged but there's a new centre pairing in Colm O'Shea and Noel Reid. Ian Madigan finally gets a game at ten and is paired with Isaac Boss.

It seems strange for Leinster's season to be over in mid-May. Hopefully it will motivate this current crop of players to make sure it doesn't happen again in their careers.

Team Lineups

Edinburgh Rugby

Leinster Rugby
Teams Jack Cuthbert 15 Rob Kearney
Dougie Fife 14 Zane Kirchner
Sam Beard 13 Colm O'Shea
Andries Strauss 12 Noel Reid
Tim Visser 11 Dave Kearney
Tom Heathcote 10 Ian Madigan
Sam Hidlago-Clyne 9 Isaac Boss

Alasdair Dickinson 1 Jack McGrath
Ross Ford 2 Richardt Strauss
John Andress 3 Mike Ross
Anton Bresler 4 Devin Toner
Ben Toolis 5 Mike McCarthy
Fraser McKenzie6 Jordi Murphy
Hamish Watson 7 Sean O'Brien
Cornell Du Preez8 Jamie Heaslip (C)

Replacements Neil Cochrane 16 Aaron Dundon
Rory Sutherland 17 Michael Bent
Simon Berghan 18 Tadhg Furlong
Ollie Atkins 19 Tom Denton
James Hilterbrand 20
Jack Conan
Nathan Fowles 21 Luke McGrath
Jade Te Rure 22 Jimmy Gopperth
Tom Brown 23 Cian Kelleher

Not Considered
due to Injury
Phil Burleigh,
Mike Coman,
Chris Dean,
Allan Dell,
David Denton,
Grant Gilchrist,
Sean Kennedy,
Tomas Leonardi,
Stuart McInally,
Nick McLennan,
W P Nel,
Matt Scott,
Greig Tonks

Edward Byrne,
Rhys Ruddock,
Kane Douglas,
Fergus McFadden,
Martin Moore,
Luke Fitzgerald,
Sean Cronin,
Cian Healy,
Darragh Fanning
Officials Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU, 125th competition game),
Assistant Referees: Andrew McMenemey, Graeme Wells (both SRU),
Citing Commissioner: John Kirk (SRU),
TMO: Iain Ramage (SRU)

by Jim O'Connor, © 2015-05-15

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