Edinburgh Rugby will start five of their returning internationalists from the Rugby World Cup (RWC) against Heineken Cup champions Leinster at Murrayfield Friday night (kick-off 7.35pm).
The returnees include Chris Paterson, the nation’s most capped player and record point’s scorer at full-back; centre, Nick de Luca, and the complete Scotland front-row that started the nation’s matches against Romania and Argentina: Allan Jacobsen, Ross Ford (hooker) and Geoff Cross.
Their reintroduction brings a potent mix of youth and experience to the black and red ranks as 20-year-old season debutant Matt Scott retains his centre spot to partner de Luca for the first time while Tim Visser and Simon Webster start out wide.
Captain Greig Laidlaw retains in the number nine jersey and will line-up alongside 19-year-old Harry Leonard, who earns his first start for the club since debuting as a replacement against Aironi earlier this season.
Behind the front-row sit Esteban Lozada and Steven Turnbull at lock while David Denton, Roddy Grant and Stuart McInally start their fourth straight match as a back-row unit.
Edinburgh Rugby head coach, Michael Bradley, said: “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 Friday night.
“Their return has increased the competition for places, particularly with a full international front-row coming back, who should give us a good platform to launch our backline and our back-row, who have performed well in a number of games so far this season.”
The capital club go into the game with just one home loss in six matches and can reflect positively on the last time the sides met at Murrayfield, when Geoff Cross and Tim Visser were among the scorers as the club raced to a 32-24 bonus-point victory.
Focussing his attention on the task ahead, Bradley added: “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.”
Edinburgh Rugby team to play Leinster at Murrayfield Stadium Friday (kick-off 7.35pm)
15 Chris Paterson
14 Simon Webster
13 Nick de Luca
12 Matt Scott
11 Tim Visser
10 Harry Leonard
9 Greig Laidlaw
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