This could be a pretty tough proposition indeed as Edinburgh travel to Dublin to face a Leinster side who had mixed results on the road in South Africa and who will be looking to get right back on to an upward curve in front of their home fans.
Cockerill may be taking a gamble with the team he’s announced, but you never know it could pay off especially if it means he gets to hang on to players like Dougie Fife who might be looking for a way back into the XVs game. That win looks unlikely though.
Fife features in a nearly new back division with only Sam Hidalgo-Clyne having had meaningful experience this season. Phil Burleigh (now Scottish qualified) and James Johnstone make up a new but potentially ball-playing centre pair, while Jason Tovey starts against Jonny Sexton with Duncan Weir rested – or dropped.
Up front, the side is captained by Fraser McKenzie and The Last Loosehead Standing™ Darryl Marfo packs down with young Murray McCallum his backup. Cockerill didn’t fancy giving Ryan Grant a deal and he’s just signed for Glasgow (again). His depleted Edinburgh unit will be taking on Tadgh Furlong and Jack McGrath by the way. Wullie Nel gets a rest and Kevin Bryce joins his brother in the side as the replacement tighthead.
One area of comfort is the back row where Edinburgh can still turn out competitive units, with Ritchie and Hamish “Pinball” Watson the flankers alongside Cornell du Preez.
However they are up against an experienced Leinster pack including an all international front row who, let’s face it, will be confident of a good home win.
They may not have had much in the way of game time this lot, but let’s hope this Edinburgh team can prove a point and come away with a result.
Leinster: J Carbery, F McFadden, R O’Loughlin N Reid, D Kearney, J Sexton (capt), L McGrath; J McGrath, S Cronin, T Furlong, D Toner, S Fardy, R Ruddock, J Murphy, S O’Brien.
Replacements: B Bryne, E Byrne, A Porter, R Molony, M Deegan, J Gibson-Park, R Byrne, J Larmour.
Edinburgh: G Bryce, T Brown, J Johnstone, P Burleigh, D Fife, J Tovey, S Hidalgo-Clyne, D Marfo, S McInally, S Berghan, F McKenzie (capt), G Gilchrist, J Ritchie, H Watson, C du Preez.
Replacements: N Cochrane, M McCallum, K Bryce, A Bresler, J Hardie, N Fowles, B Kinghorn, R Fruean.
Referee: I Davies (WRU)