A heavily depleted Edinburgh squad faces a tough test against last year’s PRO12 champions Leinster.
The Capital side have 18 players out injured and two away on international duty and have been forced to bring in a raft of changes for Friday’s match in round seven of the Guinness PRO12.
In the backs, Nick McLennan and Joaquin Dominguez move from the bench to start at full back and outside centre respectively while Dougie Fife – a late injury withdrawal from last Friday’s XV – returns on the wing.
Andries Strauss, also withdrawn late through injury last Friday, takes the inside centre jersey and captain’s armband for this game, with Ross Ford (national call-up) and both captain Mike Coman and vice captain Grant Gilchrist unavailable through injury.
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The forward pack sees James Hilterbrand, who came off the bench last week to put in a performance at flanker, start at hooker, with Ben Toolis moving up to start at lock.
Called straight into the starting line-up at lock, after an impressive shift for Edinburgh A in the win over Ontario Blues on Monday night, is BT Premiership leaders Heriot’s captain Jack Turley while Edinburgh’s BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy back row, Magnus Bradbury, makes his senior debut on the blindside. Tomas Leonardi, who started last Friday’s match at no 8, moves to openside.
David Denton, who experienced more minutes on the field than anticipated on his return to action last Friday as he replaced the injured Hamish Watson, starts at no 8.
Meanwhile coming on to the bench are BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy hooker Jake Kerr who, along with full time professional forwards Jamie Ritchie and George Turner, could win their debut senior caps.
Head coach Alan Solomons said: “In all my years of coaching at professional level, I’ve never experienced an injury list like we have at present. Eighteen players injured and two on national duty presents a huge challenge for the team, especially as we are playing last year’s champions, Leinster, at the RDS.
“It is an opportunity for many of our young players and will be a chance to see how they measure up at this early point in their careers.”
Players currently on the injured list are: Ollie Atkins (ankle) Sam Beard (concussion), Carl Bezuidenhuit (knee), Anton Bresler (knee), Phil Burleigh (knee), Neil Cochrane (hamstring), Mike Coman (leg), Cornell Du Preez (leg), Jamie Farndale (knee), Grant Gilchrist (arm), Roddy Grant (cheek), Stuart McInally (foot), Fraser McKenzie (knee), Matt Scott (shoulder), Michael Tait (knee), Alex Toolis (toe), Brett Thompson (shoulder) and Hamish Watson (jaw). All are progressing well with their respective recoveries.
Edinburgh Rugby team team to face Leinster, Friday 31 October, RDS Dublin, kick-off 7.35pm
15 Nick McLENNAN
14 Dougie FIFE
13 Joaquin DOMINGUEZ
12 Andries STRAUSS (Captain)
11 Tim VISSER
10 Tom HEATHCOTE
9 Sam HIDALGO-CLYNE
1 Allan DELL
2 James HILTERBRAND
3 Willem NEL
4 Ben TOOLIS
5 Jack TURLEY
6 Magnus BRADBURY
7 Tomas LEONARDI
8 David DENTON
16 Jake KERR
17 Rory SUTHERLAND
18 John ANDRESS
19 Jamie RITCHIE
20 George TURNER
21 Sean KENNEDY
22 Greig TONKS
23 Jack CUTHBERT
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