Friday 26 September 2014, BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. Kick-off 19:35 GMT. Live TV coverage on BBC ALBA / BBC 2 Wales. Also live on BBC Radio Wales.
Irish referee John Lacey returns to Murrayfield for his 38th competition game. The 40-year-old former Munster full-back will be familiar to many fans, both for his work in the PRO12 and as a regular on the international circuit and earlier this year was revealed to be the quickest referee at IRB testing, just what the game may need if both teams get their running game going on the new hybrid pitch.
Edinburgh Rugby: Hooker Ross Ford will captain the side in the absence of the injured Mike Coman as Alan Solomons makes eight changes to the side thrashed by the Ospreys last week. Vice-captain Grant Gilchrist is fit enough to take a place on the bench and will be hoping for some game time in the engine room. Greig Tonks comes in at full-back with Jack Cuthbert switching to the wing and Sam Beard moving to outside centre.
Scarlets: Scott Williams captains the West Walians from inside centre with hooker and captain Ken Owens set to undergo surgery. Aled Davies comes into the backline for last season’s top try-scorer Gareth Davies, who is rested despite passing concussion checks. Head coach Wayne Pivac has named Rob McCusker at eight in the only change to the pack as Rory Pitman drops to the bench. John Barclay takes his place on the openside as the Scottish international returns to familiar surroundings. There is also a welcome return to the bench for Wales tighthead Samson Lee now his suspension for a headbutt is over.
Edinburgh Rugby: Greig Tonks, Jack Cuthbert, Sam Beard, Andries Strauss, Tim Visser; Tom Heathcote, Sean Kennedy; Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford (captain), John Andress, Anton Bresler, Ollie Atkins, Tomas Leonardi, Hamish Watson, Cornell du Preez .
Replacements: James Hilterbrand, Allan Dell, Willem Nel, Grant Gilchrist, Roddy Grant, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Phil Burleigh, Nick McLennan
Scarlets: Liam Williams; Harry Robinson, Gareth Owen, Scott Williams (captain), Michael Tagicakibau; Rhys Priestland, Aled Davies; Rob Evans, Emyr Phillips, Rhodri Jones, Jake Ball, Johan Snyman, Aaron Shingler, John Barclay, Rob McCusker.
Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Phil John, Samson Lee, James Davies, Rory Pitman, Rhodri Williams, Steven Shingler, Adam Warren
Edinburgh: After such an inspiring open day defeat of Munster in Thomond Park, Edinburgh Rugby have been nothing short of awful in their last two fixtures. Their 62-13 loss at the hands of Ospreys in Wales last weekend was a club-record defeat and nothing short of an embarrassment. The entire squad has proved difficult to watch. Anton Bresler made a starting debut in the game and a better performance will be expected of the powerful South African. A big game will also be expected of leader Ross Ford, as the Scottish international has the tough task of galvanising a depleted side to some sort of respectable performance.
Scarlets: With five tries scored against Treviso in the last round of fixtures, the Scarlets are almost as free-scoring as the Opsreys. The Scarlets set down a real marker with their 43 – 0 victory over their Italian opposition in Wales. Expect Liam Williams to exploit a fragile Edinburgh defence and add to his two try scores from last weekend.
Edinburgh Rugby head coach, Alan Solomons: “Last week’s loss is on no one player, we lost our composure. A team wins as a team and loses as a team. We have to put that game to bed, it’s finished.
“It’s a big game, we need to set the record straight with a good performance and the players know this.”
Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac: “We fully expect them to go home and test their resolve and have pride in their jersey. We’re preparing that way so we expect a challenge.”
“The challenge for our players now is to take the same attitude from the game against Treviso into the game against Edinburgh.”
Edinburgh has beaten Scarlets just once in their last eight fixtures: 26-23 at Murrayfield on 30th March 2012. In their last five matches, Edinburgh has scored a uniform 12, 13, 14, 13, and 13 points respectively.
Edinburgh Rugby has won just one of their last eight Guinness PRO12 matches: 14-13 at Munster in round one.
The capital club have not won a PRO12 game at Murrayfield since Leinster were the visitors on 20 December 2013, but did pick up wins against Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys at Meggetland as they were forced to relocate over the state of the pitch at the national stadium.
Scarlets’ only away victory in the PRO12 since last November came in Treviso in February.
Scarlets came out 25-21 winners at Parc y Scarlets in February.
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