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Magners Preview: Edinburgh v Munster

Magners Preview: Edinburgh v Munster

Munster go in search of a galvanising away win in the Magners League tonight, with the management eager for the province to improve their form on the road. Edinburgh provide the opposition at the home of Scottish rugby.

MAGNERS LEAGUE: Friday, September 10

EDINBURGH (9th) v MUNSTER (2nd), Murrayfield, 7.05pm (live TG4/BBC ALBA)

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Team News: Munster have made just two changes – one of those positional – to their starting line-up for the trip to Murrayfield to face Edinburgh on Friday.

The positional change sees Donnacha Ryan switch from the blindside flanker to the second row as partner to Mick O’Driscoll. Billy Holland loses out in the reshuffle and Alan Quinlan, a second half replacement against Aironi Rugby, comes into the back row.

Otherwise, Munster coach Tony McGahan keeps faith with the side that opened with a bonus point Magners League win, as the province look to take this opportunity to start the process of improving their away form from last season.

“Our form away from home last season was poor, no question about that,” admitted McGahan this week.

“As this competition has evolved, it’s become harder and harder to win away from home. Last season, I think the best away form was that of the Ospreys who won three, two of those coming at the back-end against ourselves and Ulster, Leinster won twice on the road.

“You look at sides who don’t finish at the top, they’re still very difficult to turn over in their own ground.

“One of our big things this season is addressing our form on the road. If you want to do really well in this competition you need to.

“To that end, you need a strong focus. You have to take into account that things aren’t going to go your way.

“That’s the reality of it but you need to deal with it and get on with. So this weekend’s game is about addressing that.”

McGahan travels with a particularly strong replacements bench that includes Ireland internationals Ronan O’Gara, Tomas O’Leary and Donncha O’Callaghan for the first time this season. The trio wll see action at some stage at Murrayfield.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh’s first competitive home fixture of the new campaign will see at least one player make a full debut in the black and red. Esteban Lozada, the Argentinian lock, has recovered from a back complaint suffered in pre-season and will line up in the second row alongside Scott MacLeod.

Stuart McInally, the former Scotland Under-20 captain, is also in line to make his first competitive appearance for Edinburgh, having been named on the replacements bench.

Mark Robertson, Scott Newlands and Ross Rennie will all make their first starts of the season in a team that shows four changes to the side that lost 34-23 to the Cardiff Blues last weekend.

Injuries have forced head coach Rob Moffat to rejig his back row, Alan MacDonald (hip) and Roddy Grant (swollen knee) will both miss the clash with Munster. In Grant’s absence, full-back Chris Paterson will captain the home side.

Moffat said: “Chris has performed really well on his return from that serious (kidney) injury, and has immediately set the standards we are all familiar with.

“It’s unfortunate for Roddy that he isn’t available for this game, but we look forward to welcoming back in due course, along with Alan MacDonald, who was also going well last week before he took a knock to his hip.

“Scott Newlands and Ross Rennie are two quality individuals to be able to call on, and I’ve every confidence they will grasp the opportunity.”

He added: “Esteban has been champing at the bit to run out at Murrayfield for the first time and I’m really looking forward to him showing the supporters why we brought him to the club.

“If Stuart McInally gets on, I’m sure they’ll be impressed with him as well and, from my point of view, it’s great to have so many guys putting their hands up for selection.”

EDINBURGH: Chris Paterson (capt); Mark Robertson, Ben Cairns, Alex Grove, Tim Visser; Phil Godman, Mike Blair; Allan Jacobsen, Ross Ford, Geoff Cross, Esteban Lozada, Scott MacLeod, Scott Newlands, Ross Rennie, Netani Talei.

Replacements: Andrew Kelly, Kyle Traynor, Jack Gilding, Fraser McKenzie, Stuart McInally, Greig Laidlaw, David Blair, John Houston.

MUNSTER: Felix Jones; Doug Howlett, Johne Murphy, Sam Tuitupou, Ian Dowling; Paul Warwick, Peter Stringer; Wian du Preez, Damien Varley, Tony Buckley; Donnacha Ryan, Mick O’Driscoll; Alan Quinlan, Niall Ronan, Denis Leamy (capt).

Replacements: Denis Fogarty, Marcus Horan, John Hayes, Donncha O’Callaghan, Peter O’Mahony, Tomas O’Leary, Ronan O’Gara, Danny Barnes.

Referee: James Jones (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Graham Knox, Alan Forrest (both Scotland)
Television Match Official: Jim Yuille (Scotland)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Edinburgh to win: 4/6; Draw: 19/1; Munster to win: 11/10

Pre-Match Quotes: Shaun Payne (Munster) – “On the injury front we’re quite positive at the moment with (Lifeimi) Mafi back and (Keith) Earls not being out for too long.

“I know Paulie (O’Connell) is a long-term injury, but I think we’re starting to look pretty good. Denis Leamy has been a massive positive coming back in for us.

“Donnacha Ryan, as well, has recovered from his shoulder injury. Almost all of our front rowers are injury free and ready to go which is unheard of for most squads.

“Definitely our away form last season wasn’t good enough. First and foremost you have to win your home games. But if you want to be semi-finalists, you want to be picking up games away from home.

“Everything went with the home teams in the first week. This week is an opportunity to show ourselves away from home. It’s a massive game for us in terms of that.

“This time last season we had lost our first game against Glasgow. It was a very poor performance. We did poorly in the scrums and really there wasn’t much to be positive about.

“There is a lot to work on, but that is the norm. We’ve only had two pre-season games this season whereas normally we would have three.

“So it’s as if we are still in pre-season in a way, but we’re happy with the way it is turning out. The scrums are a massive positive.

“We have a lot of work to do in the lineouts. We turned over far too much ball in the first half last week (against Aironi). We settled in the second half and got into our stride and when we managed to string the phases together we had Aironi in trouble.”

Rob Moffat (Edinburgh) – “We were clearly disappointed to lose to Cardiff, and the performance, overall, wasn’t good enough. But having watched the game back a number of times, I’m happier than I was immediately after full-time.

“We actually played a lot of good stuff, but we gave ourselves plenty to do by conceding a couple of soft scores. What I want from the players this week is to do themselves justice with a more complete performance, and there’s absolutely no doubt we’ll need it against a side of the quality of Munster.

“There was a real buzz around Murrayfield that night (when we played Munster last October) and the players really fed off it.

“When you’re up against a team like Munster, who you know are going to make it a real battle all night, it’s fantastic to feel that support at your back.

“It would be great to have a big crowd there again on Friday for what should be a cracking game.”

Top Scorers – 2010/11 Magners League: Edinburgh – Points: Chris Paterson 13; Tries: Tim Visser 2; Munster – Points: Paul Warwick 13; Tries: Niall Ronan 2


Saturday, November 3, 2007 – Munster 19 Edinburgh 16, Musgrave Park
Friday, February 15, 2008 – Edinburgh 7 Munster 11, Murrayfield
Friday, September 5, 2008 – Edinburgh 15 Munster 20, Murrayfield
Saturday, February 21, 2009 – Munster 28 Edinburgh 14, Musgrave Park
Friday, October 23, 2009 – Edinburgh 12 Munster 7, Murrayfield
Friday, February 19, 2010 – Munster 19 Edinburgh 12, Musgrave Park


– Edinburgh have slipped to five straight defeats in the Magners League, however at Murrayfield they have won four of their last five games in all competitions

– Edinburgh’s most recent victory over an Irish side was their 12-7 win in this equivalent fixture at Murrayfield last October

– Munster’s victory over Aironi Rugby last Saturday ended their four-match losing run in all competitions

– The Munstermen have not won outside of Ireland in the Magners League since a trip to the Scarlets on September 19, 2009

– Edinburgh’s only victory over Munster in their last seven meetings was a 12-7 triumph at Murrayfield in round 6 last season. Munster’s record at Murrayfield in an excellent won 5 and lost 1