Edinburgh Rugby make two changes to their starting XV for the trip to face reigning league champions Leinster at the RDS Arena in the Guinness PRO14 this Friday night (11 October, kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports
Forward pairing Jamie Hodgson and Mesulame Kunavula – who makes his first start since joining the club in the summer – are named at lock and blindside flanker respectively as Fraser McKenzie and Lewis Carmichael drop out of the squad through injury.
George Taylor – who impressed as a late call-up in last weekend’s 11-19 win over Cardiff Blues – is once again selected in midfield as Scotland international centre Matt Scott continues to recover from injury.
Ahead of the fixture, Head Coach Richard Cockerill, said: “It’s another big challenge for us. Leinster have got some real experience in key areas and in the spine of that team. If you let them get on the front foot and control the tempo of the game they’re going to cause problems.
“Whenever you go to Dublin, you’re always going to face a huge test. They have a huge amount of experience across that team and they can win games with 15 guys missing at the Rugby World Cup.
“We know that they’ll be dangerous and we know that everyone will expect them to win, but people probably thought that last week when we travelled to Cardiff. We’ll go to Leinster with optimism and we’ll go there to win.”
An unchanged back-three sees Damien Hoyland named at fullback as wingers Duhan van der Merwe and Jamie Farndale continue on the flanks.
Scotland international Mark Bennett – who has four tries in two appearances so far this season – is partnered by the aforementioned Taylor in midfield, while scrum-half Nic Groom – who skippers the side – and Jaco van der Walt once again link-up at half-back.
Summer recruit Mike Willemse continues at hooker and packs down alongside compatriot Pierre Schoeman and Italian international prop Pietro Ceccarelli in the front row. Hodgson – who makes his first start since November 2018 – is paired with Murray Douglas in the second-row.
The inclusion of former Fijian 7s star Kunavula at blindside flanker is the only alteration to an otherwise unchanged back-row as Luke Crosbie and Nick Haining continue at openside flanker and No.8 respectively.
Edinburgh Rugby team to face Leinster at the RDS Arena in the Guinness PRO14 on Friday 11 October (kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports
- Damien Hoyland (65)
- Jamie Farndale (4)
- Mark Bennett (22)
- George Taylor (6)
- Duhan van der Merwe (43)
- Jaco van der Walt (41)
- Nic Groom (2) CAPTAIN
- Pierre Schoeman (25)
- Mike Willemse (2)
- Pietro Ceccarelli (12)
- Jamie Hodgson (4)
- Murray Douglas (3)
- Mesulame Kunavula (2)
- Luke Crosbie (28)
- Nick Haining (2)
Replacements: 16. Cameron Fenton (13) 17. Jamie Bhatti (2) 18. Murray McCallum (51) 19. Sam Thomson* 20. Ally Miller (10) 21. Charlie Shiel (8) 22. Simon Hickey (20) 23. James Johnstone (41)
Unavailable due to injury: Fraser McKenzie, Matt Scott, Dave Cherry, Darryl Marfo, Ruan Steenkamp, Jack Blain, Hamish Watson, Chris Dean, Lewis Carmichael
Unavailable due to international selection: W.P Nel, Simon Berghan, Stuart McInally, Grant Gilchrist, Ben Toolis, Jamie Ritchie, Magnus Bradbury, John Barclay, Blair Kinghorn, Darcy Graham, Henry Pyrgos, Viliame Mata
*Edinburgh Rugby competitive debut