RAMIRO Moyano and James Lang both return from injury to take their places in the Edinburgh back line against Leinster tomorrow night. The Argentine international winger and the Scotland centre were both injured in last month’s narrow Challenge Cup defeat by London Irish and have missed Edinburgh’s two subsequent matches.
Charlie Savala takes over at stand-off from Jaco van der Walt in a third change behind the scrum from the back division that began the team’s last match, the league loss to the Ospreys. Up front, Adam McBurney starts at hooker instead of Dave Cherry, who is on the bench, and Lee-Roy Atalifo gets a start at tighthead. Ben Muncaster is at blindside, while on the bench replacement tighthead Jake Armstrong and back-row forward Kwagga van Niekirk are poised to make their debuts.
Thirteeen players have been retained by Scotland so are unavailable for the game against the champions, while Luan de Bruin, Luke Crosbie, Harrison Courtney, Chris Dean, Damien Hoyland, James Johnstone, Bill Mata, Jamie Ritchie and Ben Toolis are on the injury list.
“I’m really excited to see how the guys go,” head coach Mike Blair said. “It’s a great opportunity – similar to the Saracens game – where we talked about where we’re at as a group and whether we can rise to the challenge.
“What we need to do is really take the game to Leinster. We need this group to really step up and take their opportunity. That’s something I’ve been really pleased with so far, is that when guys have got games, they’ve done themselves proud and pushed their case even more in the weeks to come.
“Leinster are clearly a quality side and they’ll be looking for a reaction after falling short against Cardiff a fortnight ago. We’re excited to take our game to the league champions and the guys will be relishing the opportunity to once again represent the club and the city.”
Edinburgh are two points behind leaders Ulster, who have played a game more and are inactive this weekend, so Blair’s team can regain the top spot with a win or a draw. Leinster are four points behind Edinburgh in fourth, but have a game in hand.
Edinburgh (v Leinster at the RDS, Friday @ 6pm): H Immelman; R Moyano, M Currie, J Lang, E Boffelli; C Savala, H Pyrgos (captain); B Venter, A McBurney, L Atalifo, M Sykes, G Young, B Muncaster, C Boyle, M Kunavula. Substitutes: D Cherry, S Grahamslaw, J Armstrong, P Phillips, K van Niekirk, C Shiel, J van der Walt, C Hutchison.
Leinster: J Osborne; T O’Brien, R O’Loughlin, C Frawley, D Kearney; R Byrne, N McCarthy; E Byrne, J Tracy, M Ala’alatoa, R Molony, J Murphy, R Ruddock (captain), S Penny, M Deegan. Substitutes: S Cronin, P Dooley, V Abdaladze, D Toner, M Moloney, L McGrath, H Byrne, R Russell.