Edinburgh Rugby Head coach Michael Bradley called on the city and surrounding regions to back his side in a series of crucial home games, which begins against Dragons this Friday (kick-off 7.30pm).
The RaboDirect PRO12 clash is the first of three Murrayfield matches for the club who then face play-off chasing Scarlets followed by Toulouse in the Heineken Cup quarter-final on Easter Saturday. With crucial points in the RaboDirect PRO12 on offer and the opportunity to build momentum going into the biggest club rugby match in Scottish history, Bradley believes that the Murrayfield crowd can provide the catalyst for the side’s success
He said: “It’s been over a month since our last match at Murrayfield and we’re looking forward to returning home to play in front of our home support.
“Our fans have been tremendous this season, smashing Scottish club rugby cup and league attedance records in successive months and we need their backing more than ever at this crucial time, while we’ll also seek to reward that incredible support.”
While the forward pack to play Dragons has a familiar look, with prop Jack Gilding starting in place of Ulises Gamboa, Bradley has made four changes to the back-line which sees an influx of some of the country’s top young talent. Harry Leonard starts the match at stand-off, fresh from a commanding, match-winning performance against Italy in the U20 6 Nations, while a new centre partnership takes to the field as inside-centre Matt Scott returns from winning his first Scotland cap in the RBS 6 Nations.
Scott lines up alongside former age-grade and Currie colleagues Dougie Fife – who replaces the injured John Houston – and Tom Brown, who starts on the wing to accommodate Chris Paterson, who comes back to shepherd the young back-line from full-back.
Homing in on the contest at hand, Bradley added:
“We must raise our efforts to achieve a much-needed victory.
At no point have we lost sight of the importance of this weekend’s game as an opportunity to address our position in the RaboDirect PRO12.
“Naturally there are other elements at stake – the chance to rally support or gain winning momentum – however this week there is just one single objective, the rest will take care of itself.”
Edinburgh Rugby team to play Dragons at Murrayfield Stadium on Friday 23 March (kick-off 7.30pm): 15 Chris Paterson; 14 Tom Brown, 13 Dougie Fife, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Tim Visser; 10 Harry Leonard, 9 Chris Leck; 1 Kyle Traynor, 2 Andrew Kelly, 3 Jack Gilding, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 5 Sean Cox, 6 Roddy Grant CAPTAIN, 7 Stuart McInally, 8 Netani Talei
Substitutes: 16 Alun Walker, 17 Lewis Niven, 18 Ulises Gamboa, 19 Robert McAlpine, 20 Alan MacDonald, 21 Alex Black, 22 Gregor Hunter, 23 Sep Visser