An indicator perhaps of Edinburgh’s intent for tonight’s Magners League clash at Musgrave Park (8pm) is the inclusion of four of those whe were involved in the international a week ago against Wales.
Jim Hamilton, Alan MacDonald, Allan Jacobsen and Mike Blair were all involved in the Millennium when Scotland came so close to a famous victory. Hamilton will partner Scott MacLeod this evening while MacDonald is part of a back-row that includes Roddy Grant and David Callam who will believe they’ll have the edge over their Munster counterparts.
Edinburgh sit in 3rd place in the League table two points clear of tonight’s opponents and while their away form isn’t good – their only away win in their last six trips was 17-16 at Scarlets in the Magners League on December 4th – their 12-7 home win over Munster in round six ended a five game losing run to the Munstermen.
Home form is therefore vital in a League that sees just eight points separating the 1st and 7th placed sides and anything other than a win this evening would seriously damage Munster’s hopes of a top four finish.
They haven’t had a game since losing to Ulster in Ravenhill on January 2nd and although Tony McGahan has had the squad together for the past week at a warm weather camp there is certain to be a degree of rustiness that the Scots will hope to exploit.
However, in what is sure to be a close run affair, if Munster can gain parity up front they would appear to have the cutting edge out wide to gain the upper hand.
Munster: D Hurley; D Howlett, L Mafi, J de Villiers, I Dowling; P Warwick, P Stringer; M Horan, D Fogarty, T Buckley; D Ryan, M O’Driscoll capt; A Quinlan, N Ronan, J Coughlan. Replacements: M Sherry, J Brugnaut, B Holland, T O’Donnell, D Williams, S Deasy, T Gleeson.
Edinburgh: Ben Cairns; Mark Robertson, Nick De Luca, John Houston, Tim Visser; David Blair, Greig Laidlaw (capt); Kyle Traynor, Andrew Kelly, Geoff Cross; Jim Hamilton, Scott MacLeod; Alan MacDonald, Roddy Grant, David Callam. Replacements: Ryan Grant, Allan Jacobsen, Craig Hamilton, Fraser McKenzie, Mike Blair, Rory Hutton, Simon Webster.
Referee: Tim Hayes (WRU).
Assistant Referees: D Keane (IRFU), E O’Dowd (IRFU).