Welsh centre David Bishop will make his first Edinburgh start in Saturday’s Magners League game away to Ospreys (kick-off 6.30pm, live on BBC ALBA) and hopes to exploit a little inside knowledge to help the capital club gain their third straight tournament win.
The 27-year-old midfield man, who joined Edinburgh on a three-month contract in October, spent three seasons with our Swansea opponents in the early part of his career. His brother Andrew, also a centre, is still at the club.
Bishop will tomorrow form an all-new pairing with Alex Grove, the on-loan Worcester player lining up at 13. Speaking exclusively to www.edinburghrugby.org, the one-time Celtic Warriors, Sale Sharks and Newport Gwent Dragons performer said: “I’m delighted to be starting a game for Edinburgh for the first time.
“Since I came to the club, I’ve been working hard in training to earn an opportunity like this, and now that it’s arrived, I’ll be doing everything I can to make it a success.
“I’m looking forward to going back to the Liberty and seeing a few old friends, but what would really make it a memorable occasion is an Edinburgh win.
“If there’s any intelligence I can give the boys, or any little insights into what to expect from the Ospreys guys, I’ll be more than happy to pass them on.
“Swansea is always a hard place to go and win, but there’s a good amount of confidence around the squad at the moment and we’re certainly up for the challenge.”
As well as being a landmark occasion for Bishop, Saturday’s game will see loose-head prop Kyle Traynor and stand-off David Blair make their 50th appearances for the club. John Houston will complete a half-century of Magners League games should he emerge from the bench.
Head coach Rob Moffat has congratulated the quartet on their respective achievements and called for a more complete performance than that which saw Edinburgh claim a tense 24-19 win over Connacht seven days ago.
Moffat said: “We were pleased to win the game last week, but we didn’t play anywhere near as well as we know we can.
“We know we’ll need to be better in a number of areas to beat the reigning champions away from home, but I’m confident we’ve got it in us to achieve a big result like that.
“It’s great for David Bishop to get an opportunity; he’s been knocking on the door for a while now. Kyle is another one who’s keen to be playing more often, and it’s good for Allan Jacobsen to have that level of competition.
“I’m happy for David Blair as well, because he’s really come on to a game this season. It was a blow for us to lose Phil Godman [to a knee injury], but David has really stepped up to the plate and is definitely taking his chance.”
In all, there are six changes to the Edinburgh starting line-up from the Connacht game. In the pack, Geoff Cross replaces David Young at tight-head, while Esteban Lozada comes into the second row with Craig Hamilton dropping to the bench.
In addition to the return of Lozada, who has been away with the Argentina national team of late, Mike Blair, Ross Rennie, Allan Jacobsen and Ross Ford all feature after their recent involvement with Scotland in the EMC Autumn Tests.
Rennie will start at openside flanker, captain Roddy Grant moving to No.8, while Jacobsen and Ford have been named among the replacements.
Moffat confirmed: “We were proud of the impact these guys had during the November internationals, but it’s great to have them back in an Edinburgh jersey this weekend.
“We’ve a run of huge games between now and the turn of the year, and we’ll need everyone firing on all cylinders to ensure we get the sort of results that everyone at the club is desperate for.”
EDINBURGH TEAM FOR Magners League GAME AGAINST OSPREYS AT LIBERTY STADIUM ON SATURDAY 4 DECEMBER (KICK-OFF 6.30PM, LIVE ON BBC ALBA)
15 Chris Paterson
14 Jim Thompson
13 Alex Grove
12 David Bishop
11 Tim Visser
10 David Blair
9 Mike Blair
1 Kyle Traynor
2 Andrew Kelly
3 Geoff Cross
4 Esteban Lozada
5 Fraser McKenzie
6 Netani Talei
8 Roddy Grant (captain)
7 Ross Rennie
16 Ross Ford
17 Allan Jacobsen
18 David Young
19 Steven Turnbull
20 Alan MacDonald
21 Greig Laidlaw
22 John Houston
23 Lee Jones