Edinburgh need to wary of a reaction to the big high of their 1872 Cup double against the crisis-hit Benetton Treviso team in the Guinness PRO12 at BT Murrayfield tonight.
Head coach Alan Solomons let the team enjoy their victory over local rivals Glasgow Warriors on Saturday night but it was straight back to business on Monday morning as the capital side look to cement their play-off place in the table.
“It’s become an absolutely vital game, “ said the head coach, who could see his team go as high as second place with a win.
“We had a high after the first game against Glasgow and the bottom line is that we definitely fell away a bit, but not substantially which was a big positive. Treviso are fighting and we need to appreciate that we now need to lift our game again.”
Successive defeats to Zebre in the Italian derbies for the first time running the Treviso’s league record to 11 games lost in succession – led to head coach Umberto Casellato being shown the door, replaced by Marius Goosen.
However the Italians have been close to that elusive win, with four losing bonus points in their last four games, including the narrow defeat at Scotstoun to Glasgow.
While Goosen has made seven changes for Murrayfield, for Edinburgh Saturday’s try-scoring hero Phil Burleigh suffered a neck injury in the dying minutes and is one of just three changes, all enforced, Solomons has made.
Greig Tonks returns to stand-off, while Ross Ford’s rib injury which saw him replaced after just half an hour on Saturday means Neil Cochrane starts.
But there is great news with Stuart McInally fit to resume from the bench, having been out since just before the Rugby World Cup with a neck problem. In the second row Ben Toolis has an elbow injury and drops out for twin brother Alex, but Alasdair Dickinson misses his third match in a row with a calf problem.
Cornell Du Preez, again a model of consistency at No 8, will make his 50th appearance for the club tonight.
“Cornell’s contribution has been immense,” said Solomons. “It’s also great to have Stuart back for this important game.”
Edinburgh have also announced that 21-year-old centre Chris Dean has signed a two-year contract extension.
Edinburgh (vs Benetton Treviso , Guinness PRO12, BT Murrayfield tonight, ko 7.30 pm)
Jack Cuthbert; Dougie Fife, Michael Allen, Matt Scott, Damien Hoyland; Greig Tonks, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne; Rory Sutherland, Neil Cochrane, W P Nel; Anton Bresler, Alex Toolis; Mike Coman (capt), John Hardie, Cornell Du Preez.
Replacements: Stuart McInally, Allan Dell, John Andress, Jamie Ritchie, Magnus Bradbury, Sean Kennedy, Blair Kinghorn, Andries Strauss.