Cockerill and Douglas provide Edinburgh update heading into Leinster clash

Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill and second row Murray Douglas spoke to the media this week as both addressed the ground out win against Cardiff Blues last weekend, before looking ahead to the tough competition they will face from Leinster away from home again this weekend.

Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill has named his side to face reigning champions Leinster at the RDS Arena tomorrow evening.

Winger Duhan Van Der Merwe seems to have shaken off a shoulder knock he picked up during the side’s 19-11 win over Cardiff Blues last weekend as he starts on the left wing with Jamie Farndale named on the right.

Matt Scott remains out of the team due to injury as George Taylor instead pairs Mark Bennett in the centre, whilst Nic Groom and Jaco Van Der Walt are due to remain in charge of the game for another week as they seem to be the first-choice half back partnership.

Jamie Hodgson comes in to the side to join Murray Douglas in the scrum’s boiler room, whilst Mesu Kunavula is named in the starting 15 for the first time on the flank. Sam Thomson may make his Edinburgh debut if he comes off the bench.

The most concerning omission for the capital side is Lewis Carmichael, as the second row is currently sporting a moon boot and crutches. The lock has only just returned having missed the entirety of the 2018/19 season.

“He’s got a slight ankle problem,” Cockerill explained. “He had an accident in training – just went over on his ankle. So, we’re hopeful he’ll be alright, but we’ll see.”

Quizzed on the fact that a moon boot usually indicates a couple of weeks recovery before returning to action, Cockerill brushed off the concern, saying; “You sneeze and they put a boot on your foot these days. We’ll just see. It’s too early to tell.”

Cockerill is feeling confident in his side’s mindset heading in to the clash, despite the injury doubts.

“We go to Leinster this weekend and it’s another big challenge for us,” he said. “They’ve got some real experience in key areas in the spine of that team. If you let Leinster get on the front foot and control the tempo of the game they’re going to cause problems. We hope to put up a bit more of a fight than Ospreys did.”

The Irish province – who are the reigning Pro14 champions – also come in to the encounter on the back of a win having beaten Ospreys 53-5 last weekend, running in eight tries in the process.

Edinburgh second row Murray Douglas said the team will be looking to play a strong all-round game against the Irish side.

“We’ll be trying to put together a solid performance for 80 minutes this week. Everyone’s really upbeat and positive and it’s a bit of confidence after the Cardiff win as well.”

“It’s the reigning champs in their own backyard, so it’s going to be a big battle,” the lock added.

Leinster name a strong side to welcome the Scottish outfit as Scott Fardy captains a side which sees the experienced Dave Kearney return to feature on the wing following a man of the match performance in round one. Meanwhile Scott Penny will make his first appearance of the season as he starts on the flank.

The Irish side aren’t without their own injury issues however, as Barry Daly, Ciaran Frawley and Dan Leavy all remain out.


Edinburgh: Damien Hoyland, Jamie Farndale, Mark Bennett, George Taylor, Duhan Van Der Merwe; Jaco Van Der Walt, Nic Groom; Pierre Schoeman, Mike Willmse, Pietro Ceccarelli, Jamie Hodgson, Murray Douglas, Mesu Kunavula, Luke Crosbie, Nick Haining. Subs: Fenton, Bhatti, McCallum, Thomson, Miller, Shiel, Hickey, Johnstone.

Leinster: Hugo Keenan, Dave Kearney, Rory O’Loughlin, Joe Tomane, James Lowe; Ross Byrne, Jamison Gibson-Park; Peter Dooley, Ronan Kelleher, Michael Bent, Devin Toner, Scott Fardy, Max Deegan, Scott Penny, Caelen Doris. Subs: Tracy, Milne, Abdaladze, Molony, Murphy, Osborne, H Byrne, J O’Brien.


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