A quartet of Scotland internationalists will re-enter the fold for Edinburgh Rugby in tomorrow’s Guinness PRO12 match against defending champions Connacht at the Sportsground in Galway (kick-off 7.35pm).
Forwards Ross Ford, WP Nel, Grant Gilchrist and John Hardie are among seven personnel changes from last week’s loss at Thomond Park, with try-scorer Hardie promoted from the bench.
In the backs, scrum-half Sean Kennedy will make his first start of the season and is partnered by stand-off Jason Tovey, who returns to play after missing out on the opening games of the season through a wrist injury.
The final change to the starting side is in the midfield, where Chris Dean – who scored his second try for the club against Munster – shuffles to outside-centre to accommodate the incoming Solomoni Rasolea, prompting a move to wing for Mike Allen.
Acting Head Coach Duncan Hodge said: “It’s been a challenging week for all involved but we’ve got a massive game we need to win on Friday night. In the short-term our focus has got to be on tomorrow’s match.
“We’ve got some fresh faces coming in from last week who will lift the team and give us a fresh energy for the game.”
He continued: “Connacht have talismanic players among them and they’re always a tough team to play, especially at home.
“They’ll be physical, but we know what to expect. We have prepared well this week and can’t wait to embrace the challenge, start to change our performances and get results for the club.”
Glenn Bryce makes his fifth consecutive start at full-back, with Damien Hoyland and Allen on the wings.
Rory Sutherland continues at loosehead prop alongside Ford and Nel, while Ben Toolis partners Gilchrist in the boiler-room.
Last week’s man of the match, Magnus Bradbury, packs down at blindside flanker, with back-row cohorts Hardie and Du Preez, while Sasa Tofilau is included on the bench after missing out on last week’s away trip to Munster.
Players not considered due to injury: Simon Berghan (foot), Anton Bresler (groin), Tom Brown (groin), Kevin Bryce (elbow), Phil Burleigh (shoulder), Alasdair Dickinson (hamstring), Will Helu (hamstring), Rory Scholes (leg), George Turner (ankle), Duncan Weir (jaw)
Edinburgh Rugby team to play Connacht
Guinness PRO12, The Sportsground, Friday 30 September, kick-off 7.35pm
15. Glenn Bryce
14. Damien Hoyland
13. Chris Dean
12. Solomoni Rasolea
11. Michael Allen
10. Jason Tovey
9. Sean Kennedy
1. Rory Sutherland
2. Ross Ford
3. WP Nel
4. Ben Toolis
5. Grant Gilchrist CAPTAIN
6. Magnus Bradbury
7. John Hardie
8. Cornell Du Preez
16. Stuart McInally
17. Jack Cosgrove
18. Allan Dell
19. Lewis Carmichael
20. Hamish Watson
21. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne
22. Sasa Tofilau
23. Blair Kinghorn