TOVEY TO MAKE EDINBURGH DEBUT VERSUS ZEBRE

JASON TOVEY will make his Edinburgh debut in Friday night’s crucial Pro 12 clash against Zebre at Murrayfield.

The experienced Welshman arrived at the club last week on a short-term deal to the end of the season, but was barred from playing at the weekend because that would mean turning out against the Dragons, which is the club he is on loan from.  He will wear the number ten jersey with Phil Burleigh shifting to outside centre.

Tovey has been brought to the club to fill the gap left by Greig Tonks, who was allowed to move mid-season to London Irish.

It may have raised a few eyebrows that head coach Alan Solomons opted to leave himself short at stand-off at such a crucial stage in the campaign by allowing Tonks to go, but the coach insisted that he did not want to stand in the player’s way after the decision had been made that his future lies elsewhere.

“Jason is an ideal replacement. He is a left sided player, he can play ten or fifteen, and he can goal-kick,” said Solomons.

The coach refused to be drawn on the question of whether the 26-year-old Welshman is effectively on trial until the end of the season.

“Things like that take care of themselves. The focus at the moment is this season and Jason is absolutely critically important to that,” he said.

Edinburgh are battling to finish this season in the top six of the Pro 12, which they need to do in order to qualify for the European Champions Cup for the first time in three years.

They are currently seventh in the table, four points behind Glasgow Warriors (who have a game in hand) and Ulster.

They have four games to go, so every point is going to be crucial, and with Zebre having managed only one win on the road in the last two seasons – against fellow Italians strugglers Benetton Treviso – this game must be viewed as golden opportunity to pick up what could be an invaluable bonus point win.

Zebre have lost 52-0 at Leinster, 32-0 at Ulster and 47-0 at Munster in their last three away matches.

Solomons spoke yesterday about his team’s determination to show every opponent due respect, and stressed that his team could only hope to score tries later in the match by putting the spadework in early on.

With that in mind, he will doubtless be looking for livewire scrum-half Sam Hidalgo Clyne (who has been replaced in the starting fifteen by Sean Kennedy) to make an impact off the bench when the game opens up during the final half hour.

Tongan winger Will Helu could be another impact sub.

Edinburgh team to play Zebre @ Murrayfield on Friday 1st April 2016 (kick-off 7.35pm):

15. Blair Kinghorn

14.Damien Hoyland

13. Michael Allen

12. Phil Burleigh

11. Tom Brown

10. Jason Tovey

9. Sean Kennedy

1. Alasdair Dickinson

2. Ross Ford

3. WP Nel

4. Anton Bresler

5. Ben Toolis

6. Mike Coman

7. Hamish Watson

8. Cornell du Preez

Substitutes –

16. Stuart McInally

17. Allan Dell

18. John Andress

19. Alex Toolis

20. Magnus Bradbury

21. Sam Hidalgo-Clynes

22. Chris Dean

23. Will Helu

Image courtesy: Scottish Rugby/SNS Group

About David Barnes 2971 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.