The reigning Heineken Cup champions will meet the current Magners League leaders tonight as Leinster and Edinburgh battle it out at Murrayfield. The Scottish capital outfit are enjoying their best ever run in the league - chalking up nine wins on the trot - but Leinster, boosted by recent victories over the Dragons and Ospreys, will be determined to maintain their winning form - especially with 2009 Lions Luke Fitzgerald, Jamie Heaslip and Rob Kearney back in the side.
Team News: The Leinster team to face Edinburgh in Saturday's Magners League clash at Murrayfield has been named.
2009 Lions Luke Fitzgerald, Jamie Heaslip and Rob Kearney will make their first starts of the season for the trip to the Scottish capital.
Kearney starts at full-back in a back-three which also includes Shane Horgan and Fitzgerald, with Fergus McFadden partnering Gordon D'Arcy in the centre.
Eoin Reddan lines up alongside Shaun Berne at half-back.
In the pack, skipper Leo Cullen starts alongside Nathan Hines, with Heaslip forming a powerful back row alongside two recent Academy graduates, Sean O'Brien and Kevin McLaughlin.
Cian Healy continues in the front row alongside John Fogarty and Stan Wright.
The replacements bench will be confirmed closer to kick-off and the list features four Ireland internationals.
Meanwhile, Mike Blair will make his first start of the new Magners League season against European champions Leinster.
After missing the opening match of the new campaign, Blair has subsequently been handed cameo roles in the wins over Connacht and Ulster - coming off the bench during both victories.
Centre Nick De Luca is also poised for his maiden start of the season, reclaiming the number 12 jersey from John Houston who is selected on the bench.
As a result of Blair's promotion into the starting line-up, Greig Laidlaw is named amongst the replacements while Alan MacDonald, who missed last Friday's win at Ulster because of a virus, reclaims the blindside flanker spot.
Chris Paterson continues at full-back and the Scotland international will be aiming to continue his prolific spell with the kicking tee - he has now scored from all of his previous 14 attempts at goal.
EDINBURGH: Chris Paterson; Mark Robertson, Ben Cairns, Nick De Luca, Tim Visser; Phil Godman, Mike Blair (capt); Kyle Traynor, Ross Ford, Geoff Cross, Craig Hamilton, Scott MacLeod, Alan MacDonald, Roddy Grant, Allister Hogg.
Replacements: Andrew Kelly, Allan Jacobsen, Ryan Grant/Davie Young, Steve Turnbull, Scott Newlands, Greig Laidlaw, John Houston.
LEINSTER: Rob Kearney; Shane Horgan, Fergus McFadden, Gordon D'Arcy, Luke Fitzgerald; Shaun Berne, Eoin Reddan; Cian Healy, John Fogarty, Stan Wright, Leo Cullen (capt), Nathan Hines, Kevin McLaughlin, Sean O'Brien, Jamie Heaslip.
Replacements (from): Bernard Jackman, Mike Ross, Devin Toner, Shane Jennings, Dominic Ryan, Simon Keogh, Jonathan Sexton, Girvan Dempsey.
Referee: Tim Hayes (Wales) Assistant Referees: Graham Knox, Bob Nevins (both Scotland) Television Match Official: Jim Yuille (Scotland)
Match Odds (Paddy Power):Edinburgh to win: 8/13; Draw: 20/1; Leinster to win: 5/4
Say What:Kevin McLaughlin (Leinster) - "My goal at the start of the season was to play the first three games so I'm delighted to have done that, but I know that the hard work starts now.
" If you look at the back row you have players like Sean O'Brien, Stephen Keogh, Shane Jennings and now Jamie Heaslip all fighting for places and that level of competition is healthy because you know that you have to perform every time you step out on to the field.
"Rocky (Elsom's) departure certainly provided me with an opportunity and I'm enjoying every minute of it.
"He set a very high standard in his time here and that's what I have to aim for when I play.
"Every week is a learning curve for me and last weekend was a case in point. When you come up against the likes of Marty Holah, Jerry Collins and Filo Tiatia they teach you a thing or two, but it's great experience and I'm enjoying coming up against strong back row units every week.
"We have played against Edinburgh so often now that we know each other well.
"They play an expansive game and they're not afraid to use a fast offload game, so we will need to cut down on the space they have to manoeuvre in what I'm sure will be an open contest.
"There has been a good buzz around the camp this week with the Lions players returning and there were huge numbers in training in the early part of the week, which is good because it adds to the competition.
"We know that we will have to raise our game again against the league leaders, but it's a game we're excited about and are going to approach in a positive frame of mind."
Rob Moffat (Edinburgh) - "We are looking to carefully manage the whole squad over the course of the season because there is a lot of rugby to be played in the Magners League, Heineken Cup and in international rugby as well.
"You've got to look at the whole season. We cannot just rely on 25 players in order to achieve that. Last season I believe we used 36 players, so I'm sure we will use that amount again.
"This week we face a completely different challenge against a team like Leinster and a lot of their big name players are back this weekend.
"Historically, we've played well against Leinster here at Murrayfield and both teams tend to want to play open, attacking rugby which will make it an exciting encounter for spectators.
"Leinster have developed their game over the past two or three seasons and they are far more physical than they used to be.
"It is a chance for us to keep moving on. It was a good win at Ulster last weekend, but, in many respects, it was not a good performance.
"I think it should be a cracking game and we just want to keep winning and entertain our supporters in the process."
RECENT LEAGUE MEETINGS:
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, The RDS Friday, April 18, 2008 - Edinburgh 15 Leinster 13, Murrayfield Friday, September 12, 2008 - Leinster 52 Edinburgh 6, The RDS Friday, April 17, 2009 - Edinburgh 27 Leinster 16, Murrayfield
- Table-topping Edinburgh's record winning run continued at Ravenhill last Friday when they came from behind to claim a 16-13 victory over Ulster
- The Scottish capital side have now won nine in-a-row and only Leinster (two runs of 10 wins and 11 wins) and Munster (10 wins) have had longer winning runs in Magners League history
- Leinster have begun the season with three successive games against Welsh opponents and have won their last two games
- Leinster have lost on their last seven visits to Scotland in the Magners League, but, of course, won the Heineken Cup at Murrayfield last May
- The last six meetings between these two teams in the Magners League have been won by the home side on the day. Leinster's only triumph on Edinburgh soil in the Magners League was a 31-8 success at Murrayfield on May 26, 2006
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