Edinburgh have gone back to strength for the visit of Aironi tonight even though, on paper, fronting up to an understrength Munster last weekend might have seemed like more of a priority. This game gives them a chance to try and translate some of that Racing Metro joie de vivre into RaboPro12 table position – they won’t admit it but I’m sure a bonus point win will be a target – and also reclaim a winning mentality ahead of the back to back Heineken trips to Cardiff that may make or break their season.
So in come top strike men Tim Visser and Jones and young buck Harry Leonard gets the 10 shirt back from Phil Godman who drops to the bench. Man of the moment Greig (or Greeeg to his friends and Stuart Barnes) Laidlaw starts at 9 with the captain’s armband and the front row that were sorely missed against Munster are restored in full. Sean Cox, our favourite Shontayne-botherer who extended his contract this week packs down at 6 in a pack that has plenty of beef and a little guile in the shape of Roddy Grant.
With news that ticket sales are already over 4000 for this match (it’s star-studded Aironi, remember) and the SRU announcing all sorts of incentives to get the 1872 Cup matches full (how about playing them when public transport is working for us northerners to come and get involved?), Edinburgh are obviously looking to keep the feelgood factor going in Scottish rugby.
Click here to buy tickets for Edinburgh Rugby v Aironi – which has already sold more tickets than any other RaboDirect PRO12 match this season.
Meanwhile Andy Robinson today announced he is considering augmenting his coaching staff, with someone boasting international experience. Does this mean that the inexperience of attack coach Gregor Townsend – identified as a weak spot by many – will be reinforced, or perhaps even replaced? Brian Ashton to join the “England didn’t give us a proper chance” rehabilitation group at Murrayfield? Please not Brian Smith!
It’s just as well England are on the hunt for a coach just now, as it means plenty of well-polished CVs (and the odd turd) are floating about in the rugby jobs market.
Edinburgh: Chris Paterson, Lee Jones, Nick De Luca, James King, Tim Visser, Harry Leonard, Greig Laidlaw (capt), Allan Jacobsen, Ross Ford, Geoff Cross, Esteban Lozada, Grant Gilchrist, Sean Cox, Roddy Grant, David Denton. Replacements: Steven Lawrie, Kyle Traynor, Lewis Niven, Netani Talei, Ross Rennie, Chris Leck, Tom Brown, Phil Godman
Friday 2nd December, 7.30pm kickoff. Coverage via BBC Radio Scotland