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Leinster Rugby vs Edinburgh Rugby
Guinness Pro12 Round 15
RDS Showground, Dublin,
Friday, 17th February 2017, 19:35

Television: TG4

Italy was a happy hunting ground for Leinster and Ireland last weekend as they both strolled to wins, scoring fifteen tries between them. True, Italian rugby is in a truly dire state and poor Conor O'Shea has a hell of a job ahead of him but both teams showed the appropriate ruthlessness and moved on. It's only a five day-gap between Leinster's match tomorrow at home to Edinburgh so there's a bit of a demand on the squad.

Leinster played out a very strange game away to Edinbugh back in September. After Edinburgh started well, Leinster dominated for the first half and had four tries scored before half-time. But then Leinster switched off alarmingly and let Edinburgh back into it to the point where they got back within a score of Leinster. A last minute Dan Leavy try saved Leinster's blushes but it was far too close for comfort.

Interestingly Edinburgh played out a very similar game last week away to Ulster. Ulster had the four try bonus point sewn up by half-time, but again they let Edinburgh back into it and ended up nervously hanging on to a six-point win. So the point is, don't think it's over against these guys until it's over! Edinburgh have struggled to turn around a bad start in the league that saw coach Alan Solomans lose his job shortly after that match in September. Duncan Hodge replaced him as coach but he's only won three out of ten league games since taking over, two of them against Italian teams. They've had a better time of it in the Challenge Cup though, topping a pool that contained both Harlequins and Stade Francais.

Hodge has named a team showing five changes from last week. Glenn Bryce returns to start at full-back and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne is named at scrum-half and will be partnered by Duncan Weir, who returns from Scotland duty. Neil Cochrane starts at hooker and captains the side, while Cornell Du Preez comes into the side to start at number eight.

Leinster are able to welcome back Josh van der Flier and James Tracy from the Ireland squad and they both start in a team showing eight changes from last week. Mike Ross, Ross Molony and Mike McCarthy also come into the pack, with Barry Daly, Joey Carbery and Luke McGrath coming into the backline.

With Munster and Ospreys playing on Saturday, this will be a great chance for Leinster to get back into the top two. Edinburgh can't be taken for granted, but Leinster should have enough for another home win.

Team Lineups

Leinster Rugby
Edinburgh Rugby
Teams Zane Kirchner 15 Glenn Bryce
Dave Kearney 14 Damien Hoyland
Rory O'Loughlin 13 Chris Dean
Noel Reid 12 Phil Burleigh
Barry Daly 11 Tom Brown
Joey Carbery 10 Duncan Weir
Luke McGrath (C)
9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne

Peter Dooley 1 Jack Cosgrove
James Tracy 2 Neil Cochrane (C)
Mike Ross 3 Murray McCallum
Ross Molony 4 Fraser McKenzie
Mike McCarthy 5 Ben Toolis
Dominic Ryan 6 Magnus Bradbury
Josh van der Flier 7 Jamie Ritchie
Jack Conan 8 Cornell Du Preez

Replacements Bryan Byrne 16 George Turner
Andrew Porter 17 Derrick Appiah
Michael Bent 18 Nick Beavon
Mick Kearney 19 Grant Gilchrist
Dan Leavy 20
Lewis Carmichael
Jamison Gibson-Park 21 Nathan Fowles
Ross Byrne 22 Jason Tovey
Adam Byrne 23 Blair Kinghorn

Not Considered
due to Injury
Jordi Murphy,
James Ryan,
Fergus McFadden,
Sean Cronin,
Rhys Ruddock,
Tom Daly,
Jeremy Loughman,
Isa Nacewa,
Rob Kearney

Michael Allen,
Alasdair Dickinson,
Viliami Fihaki,
Will Helu,
Viliame Mata,
Nasi Manu,
Stuart McInall,
WP Nel,
Alex Northam,
Rory Sutherland,
Kyle Whyte
Officials Referee: Ian Davies (WRU, 57th competition game),
Assistant Referees: Simon Rees (WRU), Leo Colgan (IRFU),
TMO: Neil Hennessy (WRU),
Citing Commissioner: John Cole (IRFU)

by Jim O'Connor, © 2017-02-16