A host of Edinburgh Rugby’s internationalists return to the fold for Friday’s RaboDirect PRO12 match against Aironi at Murrayfield as the team seek to retain a strong home record of six wins from eight matches (kick-off 7.30pm).
One week out from the Heineken Cup, Chris Paterson and James King are the only backs to retain a place in the starting line-up from last weekend’s defeat to Munster.
The pair are joined by returning wingers Lee Jones and Tim Visser, centre Nick De Luca and young stand-off Harry Leonard, who made his debut against the Italians in September.
The club’s international front-row trio of Allan Jacobsen, Ross Ford and Geoff Cross also return and pack down ahead of Argentine internationalist, Esteban Lozada, and the promising young Grant Gilchrist at lock.
The pack is completed by a back-row trio of Sean Cox, who recently put pen to paper on a two year deal, Roddy Grant and David Denton at number eight.
Having kicked off their Heineken Cup campaign with back-to-back wins over London Irish and Racing Metro, the club are keen to bring their European form into domestic business.
The capital club defeated the Italians home and away last season but left Parma in September with a losing bonus point, secured by Leonard’s boot.
Edinburgh Rugby head coach, Michael Bradley, said: “This is a big match for us because we lost to Aironi over in Italy. They played better than we did on the day and their set-piece dominated us. We do not want to lose twice to Aironi in a single season. We have to back up our European performances.
“With 25 minutes to go in the Racing Metro match the crowd were off their feet, they were clapping and roaring on the boys and to us on the sideline it was almost inevitable that we would get the try we needed. They all shared in a fantastic day and were a crucial part of that win. This is exactly what we need to impose our home advantage when teams come to Murrayfield.”
With the west stand supporters’ bar in the Presidents’ Suite unavailable for the next two home games (v Aironi and Cardiff Blues) as existing bookings are honoured, fans will be welcomed into the north stand supporters’ bar, located in the Rowan Suite (third floor), while season ticket holders can continue to use the Murrayfield Wanderers facility.
The west stand supporters’ bar will be back with a bang for the club’s 1872 Cup derby match against city rivals Glasgow Warriors, on Boxing Day, and will continue in the New Year at the RaboDirect PRO12 match against Ulster (Friday 6 January) and throughout the rest of the season.
15 Chris Paterson
14 Lee Jones
13 Nick De Luca
12 James King
11 Tim Visser
10 Harry Leonard
9 Greig Laidlaw (C)
1 Allan Jacobsen
2 Ross Ford
3 Geoff Cross
4 Esteban Lozada
5 Grant Gilchrist
6 Sean Cox
7 Roddy Grant
8 David Denton
16 Steven Lawrie
17 Kyle Traynor
18 Lewis Niven
19 Netani Talei
20 Ross Rennie
21 Chris Leck
22 Tom Brown
23 Phil Godman
Not available through injury: Ben Cairns (knee), Andrew Kelly (knee), Matt Scott (hip), Jim Thompson (knee), Alan MacDonald (shoulder)