History will be made on Friday night when Benetton Treviso become the first Italian team to play at Murrayfield in the Magners League. Edinburgh head coach Rob Moffat has urged his men to mark the occasion with a third straight home domestic win.
The capital club have seen off Leinster and Ulster in the last two Magners League matches played in EH12, and also emerged victorious from the clash with Treviso’s Italian counterparts Aironi in Viadana last month.
Moffat, who has made a number of alterations to his starting line-up in the wake of last week’s single-point defeat at the RDS, has backed this new-look side to make the right sort of first impression against their visitors from the Veneto.
He said: “We’ve been doing well at home in the Magners League of late, and we all really want another win to keep up that positive momentum.
“After the Treviso game, we won’t play again until Connacht [at Murrayfield on Friday 26 November], so it’s vital we have the right sort of platform to set ourselves for the rest of the season.
“Against Leinster last Saturday, we let ourselves down in a few areas, and with the changes we’ve made to the team, a number of guys now have an opportunity to help us produce a better performance and result.”
Nine players who didn’t run out in Dublin will be involved from the off tomorrow. Prop David Young makes his first start of the season at tight-head in an all-new front row where Kyle Traynor and Andrew Kelly also feature.
Fraser McKenzie resumes service in the second row after being withdrawn from the Leinster game on the morning of the match because he was suffering from a sore back. Alan MacDonald, the other returning face in the pack, will start at blindside flanker.
Behind the scrum, Greig Laidlaw and David Blair will partner one another at half-back, the latter having recovered from the head knock that kept him away from the field last weekend.
John Houston retains his place in midfield, but will have Ben Cairns as his sidekick this time around. Mark Robertson will start on the wing, with Jim Thompson moving to full-back.
Lee Jones, a member of the Scotland 7s team at the recent Commonwealth Games in Delhi, has been named among the replacements, alongside scrum-half Ross Samson and prop Lewis Niven, who will make his Edinburgh debut should he come off the bench.
Addressing these changes, Moffat said: “Some of the guys who’ll be involved on Friday haven’t had as much game time as they would have liked so far this season.
“This is a great opportunity for them to show why we should be picking them more often, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they produce.
“Treviso have adjusted to life in the Magners League very quickly, and we know they have players who will hurt us if we give them the opportunity.
“It’s key that we impose our own game and play it in the areas we want to. The guys are well aware of where we’ll need to be to win, and I’ve every confidence they’ll deliver.”
EDINBURGH TEAM FOR Magners League GAME AGAINST BENETTON TREVISO AT MURRAYFIELD ON FRIDAY 5 NOVEMBER (KICK-OFF 7.05PM)
15 Jim Thompson
14 Mark Robertson
13 Ben Cairns
12 John Houston
11 Tim Visser
10 David Blair
9 Greig Laidlaw
1 Kyle Traynor
2 Andrew Kelly
3 David Young
4 Scott MacLeod
5 Fraser McKenzie
6 Alan MacDonald
8 Netani Talei
7 Roddy Grant (captain)
16 Finlay Gillies
17 Geoff Cross
18 Lewis Niven
19 Craig Hamilton
20 Scott Newlands
21 Ross Samson
22 Alex Grove
23 Lee Jones
HELP EDINBURGH’S HEROES LIGHT UP MURRAYFIELD ON BONFIRE NIGHT. TICKETS FOR THE BENETTON TREVISO GAME ARE STILL AVAILABLE – VISIT www.edinburghrugby.org, CALL 0131 346 5180, OR VISIT THE MURRAYFIELD TICKET CENTRE IN PERSON.
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