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Moffat reshuffles team for Good Friday test

Guinness PRO12 Editor

1 Apr 2010

Rob Moffat has made four changes to Edinburgh’s starting line-up for the trip to Connacht this weekend and he says he wants to see a better performance from his players on Good Friday.

In the pack, Moffat has reintroduced Allan Jacobsen, Jim Hamilton and David Callam – all Scotland internationalists – while centre Ben Cairns has recovered from a hamstring injury and reclaims the number 13 jersey.

As a result, Moffat highlighted the level of competition for places within his squad and says the team must deliver a winning performance on the west coast of Ireland.

Moffat said: "There is so much competition for a lot of positions in the team, especially for the loosehead spot between Kyle (Traynor) and Chunk (Allan Jacobsen).

"Chunk had a good Six Nations and we decided to give him a start for this one. Jim (Hamilton) was out with a back injury last week, but he has trained well this week, so he returns.

"The situation in the back row is that we are still carefully managing Ross Rennie, so he was not available for selection this week and we decided to give David Callam a start.

"It is a tough game for us and we need to keep moving forward. We know that we didn’t play particularly well last week and that we must improve against Connacht.

"With four games left, we know that we control whether or not we will qualify for the play-offs.

"We are in a good position, but the really hard work starts now. Everybody knows that we must keep performing to a high standard and winning matches."

Andrew Kelly retains the number two jersey with British and Irish Lions’ hooker Ross Ford named amongst the replacements.

Moffat praised the contribution of Kelly over recent weeks and says he deserved a starting spot, but stresses that Ford will still play an important role in Edinburgh’s season.

He added: "Andrew has played well and it is good for him to keep the jersey. But Ross Ford will still have a big part to play during the game and it is important that we manage him well after what has been a demanding 12 months in his career."

Even though Edinburgh have not lost against Connacht for five years – 4 March 2005 at Murrayfield – Moffat admits his players acknowledge Friday’s fixture will be a tricky test.

He said: "We will have to be totally switched on for this game because Connacht have a proud home record and that has been established over a good number of years.

"They have beaten Leinster and Munster there in Galway and over the last two games they defeated Dragons and almost beat Leinster in Dublin."

Long term casualty Simon Cross is still out with a knee injury along with Andrew Easson (knee).

Allister Hogg is still ruled out with a hip injury which required surgery in December and Chris Paterson (damaged kidney) is still recovering from the injury set-back he suffered in February.

Lock Craig Hamilton is sidelined with a head knock while Ross Samson (broken arm) will miss the rest of the season and Nick De Luca (groin) is unavailable for selection.

Edinburgh Rugby Club team to play Connacht in the Magners League at The Sportsground (Friday 2 April, kick off 6pm)

15 Jim Thompson
14 Mark Robertson
13 Ben Cairns
12 John Houston
11 Tim Visser
10 Phil Godman
9 Mike Blair (captain)

1 Allan Jacobsen
2 Andrew Kelly
3 Geoff Cross
4 Scott MacLeod
5 Jim Hamilton
6 Alan MacDonald
7 Roddy Grant
8 David Callam

Substitutes: Ross Ford, Kyle Traynor, Steve Turnbull, Scott Newlands, Greig Laidlaw, David Blair, Simon Webster.