Fewer than 800 tickets remain for Edinburgh’s long-awaited return to Myreside with a European Challenge Cup quarter-final at their “new” home the carrot tonight.
A bonus point against Timisoara Saracens – Edinburgh were just a point short of 60 against the Romanians in the opening fixture – will secure home advantage in the quarter-finals after last week’s outstanding win at Harlequins.
The Romanian side arrive in beleaguered state having not won a game and having been fined €30,000 by European Rugby for failing to have a playable pitch for last week’s match against Stade Francais. The French side have been awarded a bonus point for that unplayed clash, and although that is pending an appeal, it does not affect Edinburgh’s fate.
Duncan Hodge will start new Scotland squad member Simon Berghan in the absence of WP Nel as one of six changes from the team that won at the Stoop. Grant Gilchrist returns in the second row, Jamie Ritchie in the back row and Neil Cochrane will start at hooker and skipper the side.
In the backs, Nathan Fowles gets a rare outing at scrum-half while Micheal Allen repolaces the injured Phil Burleigh in the centre.
“We need no extra motivation for this match,” said acting head coach Hodge. “We’re in front of our supporters at a new home ground and have the chance to secure a home European quarter-final.
“As a group we’re hugely excited about playing at Myreside and will look to put down a marker on our first outing. It’s a huge day for the club and its supporters and we hope it is a great occasion.
“The players are determined to play their part by giving a huge performance and we look forward to hearing a loud crowd creating a really intimidating atmosphere for the visiting team.
“Timisoara were a physical and tough side when we played them out in Romania and we can expect more of the same on their visit to Myreside.”
Edinburgh: Blair Kinghorn; Damien Hoyland, Michael Allen, Chris Dean, Tom Brown; Duncan Weir, Nathan Fowles; Allan Dell, Neil Cochrane (capt), Simon Berghan, Ben Toolis, Grant Gilchrist, Magnus Bradbury, Jamie Ritchie, Cornell Du Preez.
Replacements: Stuart McInally, Jack Cosgrove, Murray McCallum, Lewis Carmichael, Viliami Mata, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Jason Tovey, Rory Scholes.