Connacht v Edinburgh: RaboDirect PRO12 match preview

Last updated: 1st December 2012  

Brett Wilkinson connacht hec

Brett Wilkinson: The Connacht player will earn his 150th cap for the province

 Greig Laidlaw

Greig Laidlaw: The Edinburgh captain returns

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Edinburgh welcome back five of their returning Scotland players for Saturday's clash with Connacht at the Sportsground.

Having claimed a 23-13 victory against RaboDirect PRO12 champions Ospreys last week, Edinburgh's head coach Michael Bradley has named a solid line-up as he looks to maintain momentum.

Captain Greg Laidlaw returns to the fold at stand-off at a ground where Edinburgh have failed to register a victory since 2008.

The club and country partnership of Nick De Luca and Matt Scott continues in midfield, with Tim Visser stepping back on to the wing. David Denton is named on the blindside of the scrum.

The return of Denton sees Sean Cox return to his favoured position at lock to partner Perry Parker, after he made a positive impression in his first start against Ospreys.

The injured Ross Ford (shoulder) is replaced by hooker Andy Titterrell with Allan Jacobsen offered the chance to impress from the start at loosehead.

Bradley keeps the rest of the back-line unchanged with Greig Tonks (full-back), Richie Rees (scrum-half) and Tom Brown (wing) all earning reselection.

After their 14-3 defeat to The Dragons last weekend, Connacht head coach Eric Elwood has named three changes up front.

Starting at loosehead prop and earning his 150th cap for the province on Saturday will be Brett Wilkinson, with Ronan Loughney replacing Nathan White in the front row.

Making way for Johnny O'Connor, Andrew Browne moves from flanker to lock, partnering Mick Kearney in the second row.

Prop JP Cooney is named among the front row replacements with Danny Qualter also named on the bench. The 20-year-old, Academy prospect could earn his first competitive start at the Sportsground this weekend.

Edinburgh: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Tom Brown, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Greig Laidlaw (capt), 9 Richie Rees, 8 Stuart McInally, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 David Denton, 5 Sean Cox, 4 Perry Parker, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Andy Titterrell, 1 Allan Jacobsen.

Replacements: 16 Alun Walker, 17 John Yapp, 18 Lewis Niven, 19 Robert McAlpine, 20 Izak van der Westhuizen, 21 Chris Leck, 22 Gregor Hunter, 23 Dougie Fife.

Connacht: 15 Robbie Henshaw, 14 Tiernan O'Halloran, 13 Danie Poolman, 12 Dave McSharry, 11 Gavin Duffy (capt), 10 Dan Parks, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Eoin McKeon, 7 Willie Faloon, 6 Johnny O'Connor, 5 Andrew Browne, 4 Mick Kearney, 3 Ronan Loughney, 2 Jason Harris-Wright, 1 Brett Wilkinson.

Replacements:16 Adrian Flavin, 17 Denis Buckley, 18 JP Cooney, 19 Danny Qualter, 20 Dave Gannon, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Miah Nikora, 23 Fetu'u Vainikolo.

What they said:

Edinburgh's head coach Michael Bradley

"It was very important that we got a win last weekend, we badly needed to get a 'W' on the board. It's been great for our confidence as we've prepared for Saturday's game.

"Connacht target the arrival of the visiting Scottish sides because they feel they've an excellent chance of winning those games. We've talked about that a lot at training this week as something we have to change.

"In the past we might not have brought the Scotland players straight back in and maybe given them the weekend off after the Tests, but it's vital that we build on the momentum from the Ospreys match, and have picked a strong side with the aim of doing just that."

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