Edinburgh interim head coach Nick Scrivener has called on his team to cap their strong conclusion to the Magners League season by beating Benetton Treviso at the Stadio di Monigo on Friday night (kick-off 8.05pm local time (7.05pm BST).
The match is the club’s final outing of the campaign, and will see them attempt to earn a second straight victory on Italian soil, having beaten Aironi 10-9 in Viadana last October. Edinburgh will also be on the trail of a fourth win in their last five matches, Ospreys, Aironi and Dragons having all been felled at Murrayfield of late.
Friday’s clash is a last match in charge for Scrivener, who will return to his native Australia next week, for Scott MacLeod, who starts at second row before completing his move to Japanese outfit Kobe Steelers, and for David Blair, who is leaving the club at the end of the season.
Far from focussing on sentiment, Scrivener believes that securing another success would be the most appropriate way for all concerned to sign off. He said: “I’ve no doubt there will be a bit of emotion floating about after the game, but our main concern will be making sure that we’ve at least got the satisfaction of reflecting on a win.
“We’ve underlined all along the importance of finishing the season in a positive manner, and with the last few wins we’ve recorded, we’ve gone some way to doing that. It’s now about finishing the job and doing something that we haven’t been particularly good at this season – winning away from home.”
There are three changes to the Edinburgh starting line-up from that which claimed a 27-15 triumph against Dragons on Friday 22 April. James King, who missed out on selection for that game after injuring a shoulder, returns at inside centre, with Nick De Luca moving out one to occupy the No.13 berth. Mike Blair injured an ankle in training this week, and so Greig Laidlaw moves to scrum-half with David Blair coming in at stand-off.
In the boiler house, meanwhile, Esteban Lozada is suspended after receiving his third Magners League yellow card, and so Steven Turnbull is selected to pack down beside MacLeod. On the bench, David Young and Craig Hamilton return to provide cover at tight-head and lock respectively, while Alan MacDonald has recovered from his own shoulder complaint to feature for the first time since the defeat to Scarlets in February.
Scrivener confirmed: “We performed pretty well across the board in the Dragons game, so it’s right and proper that we retain the vast majority of the side for this match. I thought that JT [Jim Thompson] and Nick teamed up nicely in the centres against Dragons, but James King had been on a really good run going into that game, and only missed out because he failed a fitness test late on.
“I’m pleased to be able to give him another go this week, and with JT on the bench chomping at the bit to get on, it’s quite a good position to be in. We’ll need a huge effort from the pack over in Italy, because whenever Treviso are placed under any sort of duress, they go back to their main strength, which is certainly their set-piece. Ours was better against Dragons, but it will need to go up a notch again to give us the right sort of platform to play off.
“There are a good number of Edinburgh fans heading over to the game, and we want to give them a performance and result that makes the trip worthwhile.
“On a personal note, I’d like to thank all the players, management and supporters I’ve had the pleasure of working with in my time at Edinburgh. It’s been a hugely enjoyable couple of years, and I look forward to following the club’s progress from afar.”
Edinburgh starting XV:
15 Chris Paterson
14 Simon Webster
13 Nick De Luca
12 James King
11 Tim Visser
10 David Blair
9 Greig Laidlaw
1 Kyle Traynor
2 Andrew Kelly (C)
3 Geoff Cross
4 Scott MacLeod
5 Steven Turnbull
6 Stuart McInally
7 Ross Rennie
8 David Denton
16 Alun Walker
17 Lewis Niven
18 David Young
19 Craig Hamilton
20 Alan MacDonald
21 Jim Thompson
22 Lee Jones
23 Tom Brown
Not available due to injury:
Alex Blair (back), Mike Blair (ankle), Chris Bloomfield (ACL), Fraser Brown (neck), Ben Cairns (shoulder), Jack Gilding (A/C), Phil Godman (knee), Roddy Grant (knee), John Houston (knee), Gregor Hunter (groin), Mark Robertson (groin), Ross Samson (calf), Netani Talei (wrist).Like Rugby World? Subscribe to the magazine for the latest comprehensive content.
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