Hogg Ruled Out But Webster Set To Return

ImageAndy Robinson admits he is pleased to welcome back Scotland wing Simon Webster into Edinburgh's starting line-up for the Magners League match against Llanelli Scarlets at Murrayfield on Sunday (25 November, kick off 4.10pm), but captain Allister Hogg is ruled out for the game through injury.

The reintroduction of Webster, who was side-lined for three weeks with a shin infection, is one of five changes to Edinburgh's starting line-up that lost to Leicester Tigers in the Heineken Cup last weekend.

Scotland prop Craig Smith has been handed the number three shirt while summer signing Roland Reid takes over at blindside flanker and Ross Rennie returns at openside.

In the other alteration to the first XV, Kiwi forward Matt Mustchin gets the nod to start in the second row alongside fellow countryman Ben Gissing.

And Edinburgh head coach Robinson revealed he believes the changes will freshen up his side ahead of the visit of the Scarlets and that Webster's return will add some zest to the team's attacking armoury.

Robinson said: 'simon is named in the side and it is important he gets through a week of training " if he can get through that then he will start.

"I am keen for him to play and he hasn't played at home for about six months. So it is really important we get him playing and performing against a very good side.

"I just felt we needed to make some changes. A lot of these players have had three or four games to prove themselves and we need to perform better than we have done over the past few weeks."

Hogg's withdrawal means that the captain's armband has been passed to scrum-half Mike Blair, who continues his half-back partnership with younger brother, David.

Despite the selection set-back, Robinson believes the forced change gives former Scotland international Reid a chance to shine and he also praised up-and-coming back rower Rennie.

He added: "It is disappointing for Allister and the squad that he picked up a knock at the end of the game. But this now gives an opportunity for Roland Reid to come in and Ross Rennie has also been recalled.

"I"ve been really pleased with the way Ross has been playing and David Callam has been starting well. Ally needs to get it rested and wait until the pain subsides before he gets involved in contact again."

Robinson revealed the message to his new-look team is to be hard-nosed and to seize control of the game from the outset.

He said: "I have told them we have to perform well for 80 minutes and start well; that is something we haven't done.

"We have also got to be tougher with ourselves and the opposition as well as being more ruthless when it comes to scoring our own chances."

The Scarlets are set to be without a raft of big-name players, Dwayne Peel, Alix Popham, Stephen Jones, Morgan Stoddart and Mark Jones, who have all been selected to represent Wales against South Africa on Saturday.

But Robinson is adamant their absences will not lessen the threat posed by the club from west Wales.

He said: 'those five guys didn't play during the World Cup and the Scarlets did well then and they have got a big enough squad to cope. Like ourselves, they will be looking to bounce back after last week's result."

Edinburgh Rugby Club squad to play Llanelli Scarlets at Murrayfield (Sunday 25 November, kick-off 4.10pm)
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15 Hugo Southwell
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14 Andrew Turnbull
13 Nick De Luca
12 John Houston
11 Simon Webster
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10 David Blair*
9 Mike Blair (captain)
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1 Allan Jacobsen
2 Ross Ford
3 Craig Smith
4 Matt Mustchin
5 Ben Gissing
6 Roland Reid
7 Ross Rennie
8 David Callam
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Substitutes: to be confirmed

*= Member of Scottish Rugby's Senior National Academy