Following Scotland’s 21-8 RBS 6 Nations Championship success against Italy last weekend, Edinburgh will seek to secure another Murrayfield home win tomorrow when Ospreys swoop in for a Magners League clash (kick-off 6.30pm).
The match offers the capital club the opportunity to record a first victory over Welsh opposition this season, and to make instant amends for the 16-11 loss suffered against Cardiff Blues the last time they took the field back on Friday 4 March.
The side interim head coach Nick Scrivener will send out on Saturday bears six personnel changes from that game in addition to two positional switches.
One of these sees Greig Laidlaw move from scrum-half to stand-off, a role he fulfilled on a regular basis in his younger days with Jed Thistle and Jed Forest and which he has since reprised sporadically for Edinburgh.
In the only backline personnel change, Mike Blair returns from Scotland service to take the number 9 jersey, with younger sibling David named among the replacements.
Up front, loose-head prop Kyle Traynor, tight-head David Young, second row Scott MacLeod, and loose forwards Fraser McKenzie and Scott Newlands all return to the starting line-up.
McKenzie will be at blindside flanker and Newlands at openside, with David Denton, who started at 6 against the Blues, switching to No.8.
Netani Talei, who filled that position last time out, is currently undergoing treatment and assessment from the Edinburgh medical team after dislocating his wrist in a tackle during a training session.
The Fijian is joined by fellow back-row forwards Roddy Grant, Ross Rennie, Alan MacDonald and Stuart McInally on the list of players unavailable for the Ospreys match because of injury.
Scrivener confirmed: “It’s disappointing to have a few boys out, especially in a single area of the team, but we’ve a lot of confidence in the back row we’ll be fielding on Saturday and it’s a big opportunity for those players.
“The three guys we’ve got in there will ensure there’s a lot of physicality to our game, and we know that’s an essential requirement against a team like Ospreys.
“Elsewhere, we’ve decided to try something a bit different at stand-off, and I’ve been really pleased with how Greig has responded to the idea through what he’s done in training. He’s played a good bit of youth and club rugby there, and we’re keen to give him a run.
“He’ll play to the line, he’s got a really good passing game and he’s a clear communicator. Those are pretty good building blocks for anyone playing fly-half, and I’m in no doubt that Greig will deliver.”
Explaining his decision to name hooker Andrew Kelly as captain for this match, Scrivener said: “When I first took this role, I made it clear that I’d be looking at the captaincy on a match-by-match basis, and with Greig switching position, it’s right that we don’t overload him.
“Ned [Kelly] is a senior, experienced player. Given the way that Ospreys are likely to come at us through their pack, I look forward to him leading from the front."
Four players who have been part of the Edinburgh Elite Development group this year, front-rows Alun Walker and Robin Hislop, back-row forward Struan Dewar and full-back Tom Brown, are among the replacements.
Scrivener praised the impression made by this quartet, saying: “It’s been good to see their attitude to improvement across the season, and with Tom earning a full contract just last week, it shows the opportunities that exist here for talented young players.
“The bench will have a role to play on Saturday, but first and foremost it’s about the fifteen starters really pulling together as one and showing what it means to play and, ultimately, to win for Edinburgh.
“We’ve got five games of the regular season left, and we need to keep the foot to the floor.”
Tickets for Saturday’s match are available via www.edinburghrugby.org, by calling 0131 346 5180 or by visiting the Murrayfield Ticket Centre (just off Roseburn Street) in person.
Book before 5pm today to receive £5 off the standard match-day adult price.
The Ticket Centre will be open from 4pm on Saturday for match-day sales and collections.
EDINBURGH TEAM TO PLAY OSPREYS IN THE Magners League AT MURRAYFIELD ON SATURDAY 26 MARCH (KICK-OFF 6.30PM)
15 Jim Thompson
14 Simon Webster
13 Ben Cairns
12 James King
11 Tim Visser
10 Greig Laidlaw
9 Mike Blair
1 Kyle Traynor
2 Andrew Kelly (CAPTAIN)
3 David Young
4 Scott MacLeod
5 Esteban Lozada
6 Fraser McKenzie
8 David Denton
7 Scott Newlands
16 Alun Walker
17 Robin Hislop
18 Jack Gilding
19 Steven Turnbull
20 Struan Dewar
21 Lee Jones
22 David Blair
23 Tom Brown
Not available due to injury: Alex Blair (back), Chris Bloomfield (ACL), Fraser Brown (neck, in post-surgery rehabilitation), Grant Gilchrist (ankle), Phil Godman (knee), Roddy Grant (knee), Craig Hamilton (ankle), John Houston (knee), Gregor Hunter (groin), Lee Jones (ankle), Alan MacDonald (shoulder), Stuart McInally (hand), Lewis Niven (calf), Ross Rennie (toe), Netani Talei (wrist).