There is sure to be a very competitive edge to proceedings at the RDS tonight as both Leinster and Edinburgh gun for their first win of the new Magners League campaign.
MAGNERS LEAGUE: Friday, September 12
LEINSTER v EDINBURGH, RDS, 7.30pm (live Setanta Sports 1/2)
Team News: The Leinster team to face Edinburgh in Friday night's Magners League meeting at the RDS has been named.
Stan Wright's return to the front row is one of two changes in personnel to the starting pack that drew last weekend's opening game of the season in Cardiff (16-16).
Trevor Hogan starts alongside Malcolm O'Kelly in the second row with Ronan McCormack moving to loosehead prop.
In the back-line, Ireland duo Luke Fitzgerald and Girvan Dempsey come into a new back-three which again features Rob Kearney.
Brian O'Driscoll continues his centre partnership with Argentina captain Felipe Contepomi, with Jonathan Sexton again partnering skipper Chris Whitaker at half-back.
Shane Horgan and Isa Nacewa are named amongst a strong list of replacements alongside the likes of Cian Healy and John Fogarty.
Meanwhile, with a serious injury crisis on his hands, Edinburgh supremo Andy Robinson had made just one change to his team for the trip to Dublin.
Scott Newlands comes in for the injured Alan MacDonald in a reshuffled back row. Allister Hogg switches to openside flanker.
Robinson has a number of back rows out injured currently, with young Chris Fusaro, who was in line for a start, injurying himself in training on Thursday.
The Scottish side have two hookers, Steve Lawrie and Andrew Kelly, on their replacements bench and one is expected to cover for the back row.
Amongst the Edinburgh players sidelined by injury are MacDonald, Simon Webster, David Callam, Andrew Easson, Ross Rennie, Ben Cairns, John Houston, Matt Dey, Roland Reid and Jim Hamilton.
LEINSTER: Girvan Dempsey; Luke Fitzgerald, Brian O'Driscoll, Felipe Contepomi, Rob Kearney; Jonathan Sexton, Chris Whitaker (capt); Ronan McCormack, Bernard Jackman, Stan Wright, Trevor Hogan, Malcolm O'Kelly, Cameron Jowitt, Shane Jennings, Jamie Heaslip.
Replacements: Cian Healy, John Fogarty, Devin Toner, Sean O'Brien, Chris Keane, Shane Horgan, Isa Nacewa.
EDINBURGH: Hugo Southwell; Mark Robertson, Calum MacRae, Nick De Luca, Chris Paterson; Phil Godman, Mike Blair (capt); Allan Jacobsen, Ross Ford, Geoff Cross, Craig Hamilton, Ben Gissing, Matt Mustchin, Allister Hogg, Scott Newlands.
Replacements: Steve Lawrie, Gavin Kerr, Steve Turnbull, Andrew Kelly, Greig Laidlaw, David Blair, Andrew Turnbull.
Referee: Tim Hayes (Wales) Touch Judges: Michael Black, Jonathan Peak (both Ireland) TMO: Brian McNiece (Ireland)
Say What:Kurt McQuilkin (Leinster defence coach) - "I wasn't overly impressed with the first-up tackles (against Cardiff) which I thought was pretty poor. We need to improve that this week especially coming up against Edinburgh who like to push the ball around. We need to get those first-up tackles, bang on.
"I think our guys got into the swing of the match early on. We didn't hit our straps defensively early on which probably put us on that scrambling mode probably earlier than we expected.
"Edinburgh are tenacious. They never say die even when it looked like at one stage that Munster were going to romp home at one stage.
"They're typical Scots, they dig in and I would consider them one of the better scrambling teams in the Magners League. Even when you breach them they keep fighting and working hard.
"Attack wise, the conditions didn't help either side in their game last weekend against Munster, but they made the most of their chances and scored tries with their chances.
"Still, Edinburgh were in it right until the end. They can turn any side over on any given day and they're never down. I thought their back row was one of their main strengths last year, especially from a defensive point of view.
"They always tend to get into positions where you can't offload or they're putting in an impact and isolating you.
"I think that Andy Robinson has done a fantastic job with Edinburgh and he has put a really solid structure on their play."
Andy Robinson (Edinburgh) - "The RDS is a great place to play, especially in front of a sell-out crowd, and we are looking to improve on how we performed last week.
"The key objective for us is to focus on ourselves and we have highlighted key areas where we need to improve.
"Last week against Munster we realised that we under-performed and, if we are going to concede two tries, then we are going to struggle to win games.
"We were disappointed with the way the game (against Munster) went. We started averagely and in the second half didn't get the shape we wanted to play the game. It's an area we need to improve and that's what we've talked about this week.
"At the moment everybody is off by at least 10 percent. The rhythm is not there for us. We've got to be starting better â00 we can't allow teams to score and then start playing catch-up.
"At the moment we don't have that collective edge to our game, and that's something we need to find very quickly, before Friday.
"Every game this season is going to go to the wire. That's the great thing about the Magners League. It's very difficult to predict who's going to win, and that goes for all games in the league."
Top Scorers:2008/09 Magners League - Points: Leinster: Felipe Contepomi 11; Edinburgh: Chris Paterson 15; Tries: Leinster: Isa Nacewa 1; Edinburgh: -.
RECENT LEAGUE MEETINGS:
Sunday, November 6, 2005 - Leinster 13 Edinburgh 27, Donnybrook Friday, May 26, 2006 - Edinburgh 8 Leinster 31, Murrayfield Friday, September 8, 2006 - Edinburgh 20 Leinster 14, Murrayfield Friday, February 16, 2007 - Leinster 13 Edinburgh 6, Donnybrook Saturday, September 22, 2007 - Leinster 23 Edinburgh 8, RDS Friday, April 18, 2008 - Edinburgh 15 Leinster 13, Murrayfield
- Current Magners League champions Leinster have, in fact, won just one of their last four games in the competition - a 41-8 title-clinching victory over the Newport Gwent Dragons at the RDS on May 3 last
- Leinster's only home defeat in any competition at any ground since November 2005 was a 52-23 reversal against the Scarlets on October 5, 2007
- Edinburgh's three-game winning run in the Magners League was brought to an end by Munster with a 20-15 beating at Murrayfield last Friday
- The Scots have won their last two away games and another victory would equal the team's best ever away league run, which was set in the 2002/03 season
- The last four encounters between these two sides have all been won by the home side on the day. Edinburgh's last win on Leinster soil was a 27-13 triumph at Donnybrook on November 6, 2005
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