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Munster v Edinburgh: Teams
At Musgrave Park, Friday February 19, kick-off 8pm
Greig Laidlaw will captain a new-look Edinburgh side for the trip to Magners League champions Munster on Friday night.
Laidlaw, 24, signed a new two-year contract with Edinburgh on Monday and has been rewarded with the captaincy for the trip to Cork to face the tournament title holders.
Edinburgh head coach Rob Moffat believes the scrum-half's elevation to captain was a logical choice and will lead to a seamless transition should replacement Mike Blair be introduced during the game.
"Greig is playing consistently well and I think he is a natural leader," Moffat said.
"At scrum-half, he is in a good position to captain the side and, with Mike on the bench, it means if we make the change then there is a straight swap."
Laidlaw forms a half-back combination with David Blair, who makes his first appearance for Edinburgh since damaging his ankle against Bath in December.
National Academy fly-half Rory Hutton, who made his Edinburgh debut against Cardiff last month, is named amongst the replacements and Moffat says both playmakers have overcome injury problems to be selected.
Moffat says he is pleased to be able to field lock Jim Hamilton for the match at Musgrave Park - even though the big forward featured for 70 minutes for Scotland against Wales.
"I think it is right for Jim to play because he hasn't played a lot of rugby so far this season. We are delighted he is available and I'm sure he will make an impact," he said.
"Another game under his belt will stand Jim in good stead for Scotland when the Six Nations programme restarts."
Edinburgh's back three has been reshuffled with Ben Cairns required to occupy the full-back berth with both Jim Thompson (knee) and Chris Paterson (kidney) ruled out.
Vice captain Allister Hogg is still expected to be out for a few months after undergoing surgery to repair a hip problem at Spire Murrayfield Hospital in December.
Fly-half Phil Godman (head knock) and hooker Sean Crombie (ankle) are unavailable for selection.
Meanwhile, Munster's matchday squad sees nine changes, two positional, from that selected for the postponed game against Scarlets back on January 10.
Six of those changes are brought about by the non availability of the internationals, with the positional changes seeing Paul Warwick switch from full back to out-half, Denis Hurley moving to the last line with Ian Dowling coming on to the wing.
Last time around, Wian Du Preez was in the front row in place of Marcus Horan, but a fit again Horan takes his place in an otherwise unchanged front row.
Mick O'Driscoll leads the side with Donnacha Ryan alongside him in the second row, while the one change in the back-row sees James Coughlan in for David Wallace at number eight where he performed in Munster's last outing against Ulster in Ravenhill.
There's a decidedly youthful look to the Munster bench with Academy duo Mike Sherry and Scott Deasy included along with Development pair, Duncan Williams and Tommy O'Donnell.
Munster: 15 Deni Hurley, 14 Doug Howlett, 13 Lifeimi Mafi, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Ian Dowling, 10 Paul Warwick, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 James Coughlan, 7 Niall Ronan, 6 Alan Quinlan, 5 Mick O'Driscoll (c), 4 Donnacha Ryan, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Denis Fogarty, 1 Marcus Horan.
Replacements: 16 Mike Sherry, 17 Julien Brugnaut, 18 B Holland, 19 Tommy O'Donnell, 20 Duncan Williams, 21 Scott Deasy, 22 Tom Gleeson.
Edinburgh: 15 Ben Cairns 14 Mark Robertson 13 Nick De Luca 12 John Houston 11 Tim Visser 10 David Blair 9 Greig Laidlaw (c) 8 David Callam, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 Alan MacDonald, 5 Scott MacLeod, 4 Jim Hamilton, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Andrew Kelly, 1 Kyle Traynor.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Grant, 17 Allan Jacobsen, 18 Craig Hamilton, 19 Fraser McKenzie, 20 Mike Blair, 21 Rory Hutton, 22 Simon Webster.
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|Saturday 6th September|
|TBC||Munster vs Edinburgh|
|TBC||Connacht vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|TBC||Glasgow vs Leinster|
|TBC||Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso|
|TBC||Scarlets vs Ulster|
|TBC||Zebre vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 13th September|
|TBC||Benetton Treviso vs Munster|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Connacht|
|TBC||Ulster vs Zebre|
|TBC||Leinster vs Scarlets|
|TBC||Cardiff Blues vs Glasgow|
|TBC||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys|
|Saturday 20th September|
|TBC||Cardiff Blues vs Ulster|
|TBC||Zebre vs Munster|
|TBC||Ospreys vs Edinburgh|
|TBC||Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso|
|TBC||Connacht vs Leinster|
|TBC||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow|
|Saturday 27th September|
|TBC||Leinster vs Cardiff Blues|
|TBC||Munster vs Ospreys|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Scarlets|
|TBC||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Benetton Treviso|
|TBC||Zebre vs Ulster|
|TBC||Glasgow vs Connacht|
|Saturday 4th October|
|TBC||Leinster vs Munster|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com