Head coach Michael Bradley [pictured] has called for a ‘statement of intent’ from his Edinburgh Rugby charges in tomorrow’s opening match of the RaboDirect PRO12 at Murrayfield Stadium (kick-off 8pm).??
Some nine players from the successful Scotland tour of Australasia return to competitive action, and await the arrival of last season’s third-placed side and two-time Heineken Cup champions, Munster.??
Starting the match in the backs are captain and stand-off Greig Laidlaw; centre, Nick De Luca; and top try-scoring winger, Tim Visser; while Ross Ford, and back-row trio Ross Rennie, David Denton and Stuart McInally re-enter the pack, and props Allan Jacobsen and Geoff Cross are primed to enter the fray from the bench.
Bradley said: “The players, coaches and supporters are all really looking forward to the start of the competitive season.??“We have virtually all of our players available for selection and have completed a strong summer of pre-season training, with the time to perform when it matters now upon us.
??“We want to make a statement of intent in the RaboDirect PRO12, as a team and as a club, and want to kick that off with a win at home and give our fans something to shout about.”
Bradley’s first selection for the 2012/13 season will also see five competitive debuts made from the outset.
With Tom Brown ruled out with a hamstring strain, new arrival Greig Tonks gets his first start in his preferred position of full-back, with fellow new face, Ben Atiga, forming a centre partnership with De Luca for the first time.??
Welsh international scrum-half, Richie Rees, forges a dynamic half-back partnership with Laidlaw, while Lee Jones completes the backs on the wing.??
New props John Yapp and Willem Nel flank Scotland captain Ross Ford in a formidable front-row, with the pack completed by the familiar pairing of Sean Cox and elite development graduate Grant Gilchrist, who reinstate a partnership that started 15 matches last season.??
Edinburgh Rugby go into the match having won their last three competitive games at home and can reflect positively on the side’s last match at Murrayfield, when they overcame their Irish opponents 29-14.??
However, the fact that Edinburgh have won just five of the past 21 meetings underlines the visitor’s long standing pedigree and gives reason to sound a note of caution.??
Bradley added: “We’re aware we have to play very well to beat the 15 players that will take to the pitch for Munster because the tradition and ambition of the club always demands an excellent performance.??
“We expect quite a physical game and a hectic pace although Munster seem to be playing a more expansive game under Rob Penney [head coach], so expect both teams to look to put width on the ball.”
Edinburgh Rugby fans buying tickets to this Saturday’s RaboDirect PRO12 opener against Munster at Murrayfield Stadium are reminded that they can take advantage of the club's fantastic money-back offer.
‘Try before you buy’ means the supporters who have enjoyed getting closer to the high-octane action can use their ticket stub to redeem the cost of their ticket against one season ticket in the same category.
Fans who wish to take advantage of the ‘Try before you buy’ must retain their ticket stub from the match and return it to the Murrayfield ticket centre (off Roseburn Crescent) to redeem the value of the ticket against a season ticket of the same, like-for-like, category or call 0131 346 5180 during office hours to arrange the purchase by post.
Edinburgh Rugby team to play Munster in round one of the RaboDirect PRO12 at Murrayfield Stadium on Saturday 1 September (kick-off 8pm)
15 Greig Tonks
14 Lee Jones
13 Nick De Luca
12 Ben Atiga
11 Tim Visser
10 Greig Laidlaw CAPTAIN
9 Richie Rees
1 John Yapp
2 Ross Ford
3 Willem Nel
4 Grant Gilchrist
5 Sean Cox
6 David Denton
7 Ross Rennie
8 Stuart McInally
16 Andy Titterrell
17 Allan Jacobsen
18 Geoff Cross
19 Perry Parker
20 Dimitri Basilaia
21 Chris Leck
22 Gregor Hunter
23 John Houston
Not available: Tom Brown (hamstring strain), Ben Cairns (knee), Steven Lawrie (knee), Matt Scott (pre-season), Netani Talei (hamstring strain), Steven Turnbull (shoulder).