EDINBURGH skipper Greig Laidlaw will wave goodbye to the capital club’s supporters on Saturday night and head coach Alan Solomons has urged his team-mates to ensure his final home match ends in a win.
The Gloucester-bound scrum-half will lead out the Gunners for the final time in the city at their temporary Meggetland home as they host Munster in the RaboDirect PRO12.
Solomons said: “It’s our last home game of the season and it’s Greig Laidlaw’s last home match as captain before he leaves, so there is a lot to play for from our side in that respect.
“Munster are motivated by the fact that they want to secure the best possible play-off spot. We are motivated by the fact that it has been a very tough season and we would like to finish our home campaign on a good note by delivering a good performance, for Greig and for our supporters.”
Laidlaw will lead an unchanged backline but injuries to the club’s middle and back-rows enforce a personnel change to the pack.
A head knock in last weekend’s match against Glasgow means Izak van der Westhuizen joins second-rows Sean Cox (hamstring) and Ollie Atkins (knee), as well as back-rows Roddy Grant (ankle) and Hamish Watson (leg), on the sidelines.
As a result, David Denton starts his first match at second-row since earning age-grade international honours, with Tomas Leonardi taking the vacated loose forward berth.
Solomons said: “Over the last two weeks we’ve had difficulties in the second-row, and now the back-row, with injuries.
“This means David Denton moves into lock out of necessity and young Ben Toolis - a player of much promise but limited experience - joins the bench.
“We are fortunate that we have the necessary cover in the back-row, with Dimitri Basiliaia returning from international duty and injury, though we are obviously thin at lock.”
Munster’s Heineken Cup semi-final defeat to Toulon in Marseille on Saturday means their focus is now fixed on securing one of the two home knock-out slots for the end of season PRO12 play-offs.
Solomons added: “Munster are historically a very resilient team and I expect them to bounce back from that defeat immediately.
“They have made it clear since that game that their attention is totally on the PRO12 and that they are determined to come here and secure a win.”