Acting Edinburgh head coach Duncan Hodge is expecting a much-improved performance from his side this weekend as they take on Benetton Treviso in the Guinness PRO12.
The form books do not make good reading for Treviso, who have not won away from home since beating Zebre 26-16 in December 2014, and are without a win in Scotland for a further two years.
While the Scotsmen’s only defeat to an Italian opponent in their last seven meetings was an 11-19 reverse to Zebre last season, Edinburgh have won just once in the last nine rounds of the Guinness PRO12.
And that is a statistic Hodge is determined to put right ahead of the forthcoming European break.
“Technical aspects of the game let us down last week but our desire and commitment was outstanding,” Hodge said.
“We have looked to address the technicalities in training and hope to see an improvement in what is a huge game for the club on Friday.
“Treviso are a strong outfit and will pose a tough challenge but we’re looking forward to getting back in front of a home crowd at BT Murrayfield and putting in a big performance for our supporters.
“We see this game as a chance to get back to winning ways before we head into the first rounds of European rugby.”
Hodge has made five changes to the side that lost to Munster last weekend, while prop Rory Sutherland will make his 50th Edinburgh Rugby appearance and lead the team out at BT Murrayfield.
Blair Kinghorn makes his first start of the season at full-back, while wing Tom Brown returns from a groin injury, and new recruit from London Scottish, Ewan McQuillin, will start at tighthead prop.
Two changes come in the back-row where Hamish Watson is promoted from the bench to start at openside flanker, while Nasi Manu returns to fitness to feature in his first game since the season opener in Cardiff.
Meanwhile, Treviso have had to contend with a huge injury list of 11 players, and head coach Kieran Crowley has named a side with three changes from last week’s defeat to Scarlets.
Particularly problematic has been the back row, with Robert Barbieri, Marco Barbini, Alessandro Zanni and now Guglielmo Zanini out injured, with Dean Budd flying to New Zealand because of a family bereavement.
Jayden Hayward has a muscle problem so Andrea Buondonno comes in on the wing with Luke McLean switching to full-back.
Edoardo Gori is also named at scrum-half in place of Giorgio Bronzini, and flanker Marco Lazzaroni is promoted from the bench.
Overall Guinness PRO12 head to head record:
Played 12, Edinburgh won 8, Treviso won 4.
At BT Murrayfield, 7:35pm. Live on BBC Alba
Referee: Ian Davies (WRU, 52nd competition game)
Assistant Referees: Rhys Thomas (WRU), Dunx McClement (SRU)
Citing Commissioner: John Kirk (SRU)
TMO: Gareth Simmonds (WRU)
Damien Hoyland’s first-half try-double set the tone as Edinburgh won their first game under acting head coach Duncan Hodge in style.
Hoyland – who scored twice the last time he faced Treviso – was joined on the scoresheet by Hamish Watson and Magnus Bradbury in a half that saw Edinburgh wrap up the try-bonus point.
And though Marco Fuser’s try cut into the deficit after the break, this was to be Edinburgh’s night as Tom Brown – with help from an inspired Jason Tovey – added two more tries for the hosts.
Blair Kinghorn, on his first start of the season, rounded things off with another try at the death.
Hodge had promised the BT Murrayfield a big performance and it looked as if he would prove true to his word when Hoyland touched down with four minutes gone.
The Scotland wing was first to react to a loose ball from a ruck and stormed across the whitewash from some 70 yards out, with Welsh fly-half Tovey converting.
The hosts doubled up moments later, this time Chris Dean doing all the hard work with a superb break before Watson broke through the tackles to touch down.
Tovey made it two conversions from two before the game settled down for a spell – and crucially for Treviso, Tommaso Allan slotted a penalty to get them on the board.
But Hoyland piled the pain on the Italians on the half-hour with another smart finish and Tovey was on target for the third time with the extras.
Hoyland was involved once more soon after, combining with Dean and Mike Allen before back-rower Bradbury was set free to race home from 60 metres out.
Tovey took his personal tally to eight with the conversion and suddenly Edinburgh were 26-3 to the good, which is stayed until half-time.
Treviso showed admirable spirit upon the restart and responded when Fuser rumbled over four minutes into the half, Allan on target with the extras.
It was only to be momentary respite for Treviso – who have not won away from home since December 2014 – as a sumptuous Tovey miss pass opened up the space for Brown to dive over.
Edinburgh made a slew of replacements on the hour mark including a first Edinburgh appearance for young prop Murray McCallum.
The hosts’ sixth of the night also came through Brown and Tovey was the creator again, placing his cross-field kick where only his wing could reach it.
Tovey’s kick then put Edinburgh 40 up before Kinghorn finished a flowing move to round off a morale-boosting night for the home side.
Guinness PRO12 Final 2017 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 adults and €5 child, and be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie. For further information visit http://www.pro12rugby.com/final
06 Oct 2016
06 Oct 2016