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Leinster Rugby vs Edinburgh Rugby
Pro-14 Conference B Round 4
RDS Showground, Dublin,
Saturday, 22nd September 2018, 19:35

TV: Live on Eir Sports

Last week's match against the Dragons went pretty much as expected for Leinster. A bit scrappy and rusty in the first half but when Leinster kicked on they blew them away. Tomorrow evening's game is unlikely to be a similar cakewalk though.

Edinburgh have come on in leaps and bounds since former Leicester coach Richard Cockerill took over at the start of last season. He brought a new solidity to the team which made them much tougher to beat than before. He brought them to the play-offs for the first time ever where they lost narrowly to Munster. As a result of making the play-offs this season they are back in Europe's top tier competition for the first time since 2013. Off the field they've finally made some strides towards solving the issue which has dogged them from the beginning; where to play to play their home games. Playing home games in a largely empty Murrayfield has always been a depressing experience and smaller local grounds just never really suited for a variety of reasons. So last May, they announced a new proposed 7,800 seater stadium to be built on the training pitches at BT Murrayfield which should make for a much better atmosphere when it's completed.

This season they had a tough start, losing away to the Ospreys and then Ulster in their first two games. The Ulster loss stung more than most though as they blew a 23-6 lead. Last week they got back to winning ways with a hard-fought win over Connacht at home.

Cockerill has made nine changes from the team that won last week and has opted to rest Scotland internationals Blair Kinghorn, Henry Pyrgos, Grant Gilchrist, Hamish Watson, Matt Scott, WP Nel and Stuart McInally. Fullback Dougie Fife comes into the back-three alongside wingers Duhan van der Merwe and Jamie Farndale. In the midfield Chris Dean returns from injury to partner Argentinean international Juan Pablo Socino who makes his first competitive start for the club. Jaco van der Walt continues at stand-off while Sean Kennedy makes his first start of the campaign at scrum-half.

A new look front-row sees Scotland international hooker Ross Ford pack down alongside Allan Dell and Simon Berghan, while skipper Fraser McKenzie and Ben Toolis form the second-row. Magnus Bradbury is named at number eight with Jamie Ritchie and Luke Hamilton completing the back-row.

Leinster make seven changes from last week and James Lowe returns to the team on the left wing with Fergus McFadden coming in on the right wing. Jordan Larmour moves from the wing to fullback while Garry Ringrose and Robbie Henshaw continue in midfield. Captain Johnny Sexton rather surprisingly starts again, making his 150th appearance and he has a new halfback partner in Luke McGrath. The starting back row of Max Deegan, Josh van der Flier and Jack Conan is unchanged with Dan Leavy fit enough to be named on the bench.

Devin Toner comes into the second row alongside the retained James Ryan, while it's a all new front row in Cian Healy, James Tracy and Michael Bent.

Last season Leinster were fortunate to beat Edinburgh at home and then the Scots extracted their revenge at Murrayfield. Leinster should still win tomorrow especially with an under-strength Edinburgh team named, but don't be surprised if they make it awkward as hell.

Team Lineups

Leinster Rugby
Edinburgh Rugby
Teams Jordan Larmour 15 Dougie Fife
Fergus McFadden 14 Jamie Farndale
Garry Ringrose 13 Chris Dean
Robbie Henshaw 12 Juan Pablo Socino
James Lowe 11 Duhan van der Merwe
Johnny Sexton (C)
10 Jaco van der Walt
Luke McGrath 9 Sean Kennedy

Cian Healy 1 Allan Dell
James Tracy 2 Ross Ford
Michael Bent 3 Simon Berghan
Devin Toner 4 Fraser McKenzie (C)
James Ryan 5 Ben Toolis
Max Deegan 6 Luke Hamilton
Josh van der Flier 7 Jamie Ritchie
Jack Conan
8 Magnus Bradbury

Replacements Sean Cronin
16 Dave Cherry
Peter Dooley 17 Pierre Schoeman
Tadhg Furlong 18 Murray McCallum
Mick Kearney 19 Callum Hunter-Hill
Dan Leavy 20
Luke Crosbie
Jamison Gibson-Park 21 Nathan Fowles
Ross Byrne 22 Simon Hickey
Joe Tomane 23 James Johnstone

Not Considered
due to Injury
Sean O'Brien,
Ciaran Frawley,
Will Connors,
Barry Daly,
Nick McCarthy,
Jack McGrath,Tom Daly

Officials Referee: Dan Jones (WRU),
Assistant referees: Adam Jones (WRU) AR2: Chris Busby (IRFU),
TMO: Simon McDowell (IRFU)

by Jim O'Connor, © 2018-09-21