Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Edinburgh ring in changes

Jim Thompson
Jim Thompson

Edinburgh have made six changes to the starting line-up for Friday's Heineken Cup match against Northampton Saints from the one which began the 21-16 Magners League loss to Scarlets at Murrayfield last Saturday.

In the backs, Jim Thompson replaces Lee Jones on the wing, while Ben Cairns comes in for John Houston and will form a centre partnership with Nick De Luca for the first time since the trip to Leinster in May 2010.

In the pack, Kyle Traynor gets a start at loose-head prop, Esteban Lozada replaces Fraser McKenzie at lock and Roddy Grant comes in at No 8 and will captain the team. Fellow back-row player Netani Talei is suffering from a virus and misses out this week, while Ross Rennie replaces Stuart McInally, with Alan MacDonald moving to blindside.

Head coach Rob Moffat wants his players to repeat the level of attacking ambition they showed in the narrow 31-28 defeat in the first meeting between the teams at Murrayfield last October, when Edinburgh claimed three tries.

He said: "We played well in a lot of areas last time out against Northampton and, with a little bit more composure at crucial times, could certainly have won the game.

"Franklin's Gardens is known throughout Europe as one of the toughest away grounds to go and get a positive result, but we've named a side that we feel is more than capable of rising to the challenge.

"The guys have already shown that they can live with a team with the sort of quality Northampton have, and we'll be asking them to really front up again and make sure we do ourselves justice."

Edinburgh return to Franklin's Gardens where they recorded one of the best results in the club's history the last time they visited - an October 2000 encounter that saw them win 23-22 against an outfit who were reigning European champions.

Moffat added: "When you go to a place like Northampton, it's always nice to look back through the history books and see you've won there before, but that game was a long time ago and I'm sure that everyone in this team wants to register an achievement of their own.

"What the last few weeks have underlined is that we need our set-piece to be more consistent if we're to fully exploit the potential we have in attack. That's the message we've been hammering home all week: do the basics well and give ourselves the platform to push on and win the game."

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