Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons will take the wins first as Edinburgh seek to build on last week’s victory over Scarlets with Leinster at BT Murrayfield in the Guinness PRO12 tonight.
The veteran South African has made minimal changes in his side to take on the Dubliners, still smarting from last Saturday’s collapse at Scotstoun with a short six-day turnaround before completing their scheduled visits to Scotland with the regular season just three weeks old.
Leinster have overhauled their pack with the recall of five Ireland internationalists for the trip to Murrayfield. Jamie Heaslip returns at No 8, there’s a new front row of Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin and Mike Ross while Devin Toner comes into the second row.
There’s also changes in the backs with Isa Nacewa and Zane Kirchner starting and Jamison Gibson-Park making his first start at scrum-half.
In contrast Solomons is forced to omit John Hardie, who suffered a concussion last week, and rests Jamie Ritchie. Summer signing Viliame Fihaki comes in at No 8, Magnus Bradbury switches to blindside and Hamish Watson comes in at openside.
Solomons is sticking with Nathan Fowles as Duncan Weir’s partner, with the young scrum-half saying that Edinburgh will be determined to defend their home record.
“Home matches are non-negotiable for us this season, if we want to be a top four team in this league then we have to win our home games,” said Fowles.
The message for Murrayfield this week is that criticism of the team’s forward-orientated style in the opening two games is misplaced as heavy rain on both nights dictated a 10-man game. The players themselves chose those tactics rather than adhering to some kind of strict gameplan dictated to them by the coaching staff, said Solomons.
““We know we need to build on last week, but appreciate that we will have to be at our best against a powerful Leinster outfit,” added the head coach.
Scotland prop WP Nel will be playing his 100th game for the club, the so-called “project player” now in his fourth year at Murrayfield during which time he has become a fixture for the club and Scotland as well as being widely tipped to be a Lions tourist at the end of this season.
He has started 83 games and scored a remarkable – for a tighthead – 15 tries in the black and red.
Another notable for Edinburgh fans is the return of Cornell du Preez to the bench having had two club games in his return from ankle surgery in the summer.
Du Preez, who will qualify for Scotland under residency next month, is being “bled” back into the team off the bench.
Glenn Bryce; Michael Allen, Sasa Tofilau, Phil Burleigh, Tom Brown; Duncan Weir, Nathan Fowles; Rory Sutherland, Ross Ford, WP Nel; Ben Toolis, Grant Gilchrist (capt); Magnus Bradbury, Hamish Watson, Viliami Fihaki
Replacements: Stuart McInally, Allan Dell, Kevin Bryce, Fraser McKenzie, Cornell Du Preez, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Solomoni Rasolea, Blair Kinghorn.