Hosts Aim To Put Best First-Foot Forward

Edinburgh Rugby aim to put their best first-foot forward as they get the New Year underway against Heineken Cup champions Leinster at Murrayfield Stadium tomorrow night (kick-off 7.35pm) " live on BBC ALBA.

The match is the first opportunity for the club to atone for a tough end to 2012, which saw them endure four losses in all competitions, with their last home victory coming at the expense of champions Ospreys at the end of November (23-13).

The Dubliner's arrive in a similar fettle, having ended an uncharacteristic three-game losing run with Saturday's victory over Connacht at the RDS.

They will arrive confident in the knowledge that they have won their last four encounters against Edinburgh and three of their last four visits to the stadium, including the Heineken Cup final triumph over Leicester in 2009.

>> Click here to buy tickets for Edinburgh Rugby v Leinster
Edinburgh Rugby team to play Leinster
Friday 4 January at Murrayfield Stadium (kick-off 7.35pm)


15 Greig Tonks

14 Dougie Fife
13 Matt Scott
12 Ben Atiga
11 Tim Visser

10 Piers Francis
9 Greig Laidlaw CAPTAIN

1 Allan Jacobsen
2 Andy Titterrell
3 Willem Nel
4 Grant Gilchrist
5 Sean Cox
6 Stuart McInally
7 Dimitri Basilaia
8 David Denton

Substitutes
16 Steven Lawrie
17 Robin Hislop
18 Geoff Cross
19 Perry Parker
20 Netani Talei
21 Richie Rees
22 James King
23 Sep Visser

Head coach, Michael Bradley, said: 'the competitiveness of the RaboDirect PRO12 is exceptional, and there are few tougher challenges than hosting the current European champions.

"However, while we have a lot of respect of Leinster, we don't fear them and we are fully focused on kick starting the New Year at home after a tough December.

"We ran them close in Dublin earlier in the season and are looking forward to having another crack at them at home tomorrow night at Murrayfield."

The one change to the club's back-line sees Kiwi centre Ben Atiga start his first match since injuring his knee in October, to partner Matt Scott in midfield.

Willem Nel has recovered from the hamstring strain that ruled him out of last weekend's loss to Glasgow Warriors, and is preferred to Geoff Cross at tight-head prop in an otherwise unchanged tight-five.

Stuart McInally returns to the fold on the blind-side flank with David Denton [pictured] offered a start at number 8, the position at which he has earned all nine of his Scotland caps to date.

The introduction of Georgian internationalist, Dimitri Basilaia, completes a phyiscal, ball-carrying back-row, with his second start since arriving at the club in the summer.


Absent through injury: Tom Brown (knee), Nick De Luca (face), Lee Jones (ribs), Jamie Farndale (leg), Ross Ford (shoulder), Ross Rennie (shoulder), Steven Turnbull (knee), George Turner (hip), Izak van der Westhuizen (ankle), John Yapp (knee).

Players release to the RBS Premiership: Harry Leonard and Ben Cairns (Boroughmuir), Chris Leck and John Houston (Currie), Lewis Niven and Alex Black (Edinburgh Accies), Michael Penn (Heriot's) and Alun Walker (Melrose).

Depending on game time v Leinster, Sep Visser and Steven Lawrie may be released to Boroughmuir and Heriot's.