Edinburgh v Leinster match preview

With the Rugby World Cup over for another four years, the provincial sides have their chance to shine, as Heineken Cup champions Leinster travel to Murryfield to take on Edinburgh in the RaboDirect Pro 12 match this Friday night, kick off 7.35 pm.

Coach Joe Schmidt has brought back a number of front line internationals for this match. Jonny Sexton, Rob Kearney, Isaac Boss, Fergus McFadden, Sean Cronin, Mike Ross and Leo Cullen all come back into the starting 15 for Friday’s game.

Kearney in particular will be looking to make a statement as he begins his battle with Isa Nacewa for the number 15 spot at Leinster. He will take heart from his performances at the World Cup, where after blowing some of the cobwebs away, he looked back to his weaving best.

Jonny Sexton will doubtless be happy to be back in the blue of Leinster having suffered with his kicking and a rejuvenated Ronan O’Gara at the World Cup.

Leinster have done well in the opening portion of the season. Aside from losing their front liners to the World Cup they had to deal with a number of injuries to key players, and despite all that they still manage to find themselves in third spot, behind Ospreys and Munster, in the table.

Schmidt’s have won their last three RaboDirect PRO12 matches since their 19-23 reversal at home to Glasgow on September 17th. However they don’t have fond memories of Scotland as they have lost on their last three visits to Scotland.

Edinburgh, while second last in the table, are a dangerous proposition at home having defeated Munster 29-14 two games ago. They like Leinster welcome back a number of Scottish players from the World Cup including Chris Paterson, centre, Nick de Luca, and Allan Jacobsen, Ross Ford (hooker) and Geoff Cross.

Coach Michael Bradley knows that with the returing internationals and home advantage Friday’s game is a huge one for his side “Playing at home is an advantage for us and we have the Rugby World Cup boys back so it’s shaping up to be a very exciting game.

“They’re good professionals and are fully switched back into Edinburgh Rugby mode so there’s been a great buzz around training and we’re certainly looking forward to seeing them play against Leinster tomorrow night.

“The priority for us is to get more points in the RaboDirect PRO12. Home matches with home advantage are critical so we’ll be looking for a win.

“The crowd has been immense and were royally entertained at Murrayfield against Munster and were with us all the way against Connacht so similarly, in this match, we need the supporters to get behind the boys and make this home game count.

“Like us, Leinster have a lot of quality players coming back so, while the timing is good for us, it’s also good for Leinster so I think it’ll be a great match.”

While playing in a cold Murryfield is not pleasant at the best of times, the verdict, narrowly, goes to Leinster, providing the returing internationals slot back in, Leinster should have enough firepower to get the job done, before Munster next Friday in the Aviva.


15: Chris Paterson
14: Simon Webster
13: Nick de Luca
12: Matt Scott
11: Tim Visser
10: Harry Leonard
9: Greig Laidlaw CAPTAIN

1: Allan Jacobsen
2: Ross Ford
3: Geoff Cross
4: Esteban Lozada
5: Steve Turnbull
6: Dave Denton
7: Roddy Grant
8: Stuart McInally


16: Steven Lawrie
17: Kyle Traynor
18: Lewis Niven
19: Grant Gilchrist
20: Netani Talei
21: Mike Blair
22: Jim Thompson
23: Tom Brown


15: Rob Kearney
14: David Kearney
13: Eoin O’Malley
12: Fergus McFadden
11: Luke Fitzgerald
10: Jonathan Sexton
9: Isaac Boss

1: Heinke van der Merwe
2: Sean Cronin
3: Mike Ross
4: Leo Cullen CAPTAIN
5: Devin Toner
6: Kevin McLaughlin
7: Dominic Ryan
8: Leo Auva’a


16: Richardt Strauss
17: Jack McGrath
18: Nathan White
19: Steven Sykes
20: Rhys Ruddock
21: John Cooney
22: Ian Madigan
23: Fionn Carr

REFEREE: Leighton Hodges (WRU), ASSISTANT REFEREES: David Changleng, Archie McInally (both SRU), TMO: Iain Heard (SRU)


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