Head coach Rob Moffat believes Edinburgh are capable of still snatching a Magners League semi-final play-off berth by achieving a try bonus point victory over Leinster in Dublin on Sunday (kick-off 6.15pm).
Moffat has made five changes, one positional, from the team that started Edinburgh’s last outing – the loss to Ulster last month.
Returning to the starting XV for the first time since Edinburgh’s Heineken Cup trip to Bath in December is internationalist Allister Hogg, while his fellow cap Kyle Traynor is back at prop, Jim Thompson is restored at full-back and Steven Turnbull at lock. Ben Cairns reverts to his regular role at outside centre.
Moffat said: "We know what we have to do this weekend and the teams who finish in the top four and qualify for the play-offs are those who deserve to on their form over the whole season.
"We know we are capable of getting five points from the game in Dublin and that is not said with any disrespect to Leinster who are among the best teams in Europe and who will be hurting at their Heineken defeat last weekend.
"It’s said from the fact that when we play to the best of our ability we can beat the best teams in Europe – just as we have against Stade Francais, the Ospreys, Bath and Munster this season."
Moffat is pleased to welcome back Hogg, the 48-times capped back-row forward, who has been sidelined through injury since last year. "I’m pleased that Hoggy has recovered from his hip surgery and has got some match fitness back through playing for Watsonians in the last few weeks," Moffat noted.
Edinburgh’s qualification for the play-offs depends on them taking five points from the game against Leinster and
â€¢ Cardiff either beating Munster with neither side claiming a bonus point
â€¢ Cardiff beating Munster who get a losing bonus point but do not improve their points differential ahead of Edinburgh’s
Edinburgh Rugby Club to play Leinster in the Magners League at the RDS Showground, Dublin on Sunday 8 May (kick-off 6.15pm)
15 Jim Thompson
14 Tim Visser
13 Ben Cairns
12 Nick De Luca
11 Mark Robertson
10 Phil Godman
9 Greig Laidlaw
1 Allan Jacobsen
2 Ross Ford
3 Kyle Traynor
4 Scott MacLeod
5 Steven Turnbull
6 Alan MacDonald
8 Allister Hogg
7 Roddy Grant captain
16 Andrew Kelly
17 Geoff Cross
18 Jim Hamilton
19 Scott Newlands
20 Mike Blair/David Blair
21 John Houston
22 Andrew Turnbull