Edinburgh will look to make it three Guinness PRO14 wins in a row when they welcome Ospreys to Myreside on Saturday although the Welshmen will be in a buoyant mood after they overcame regional rivals the Dragons in round 7.
Both sides sit mid-table in their respective conferences and and need the points as they battle to make the top three.
What’s at stake? Edinburgh, in fourth place in Conference B, can keep within touching distance of second and third Leinster and Ulster who visit Glasgow and Southern Kings respectively.
Ospreys are fortunate enough that – other than unbeaten Glasgow Warriors – the teams ahead of them are taking points off each other in a competitive Conference A.
Team news (Edinburgh): Edinburgh make seven changes from round seven including Tom Brown for Jason Tovey and Nathan Fowles for Sam Hidalgo-Clyne in the backs.
Michele Rizzo comes in for Darryl Marfo, as well as Neil Cochrane for Stuart McInally, and Simon Berghan for WP Nel to complete a new front row, Grant Gilchrist comes in for Ben Toolis, and Jamie Ritchie for Hamish Watson
Team news (Ospreys): Ospreys make eight changes including Dan Evans replacing Dan Biggar which will see Sam Davies moved to fly-half, James Hook coming in for Keelan Giles, and Brendon Leonard coming in for Owen Watkin which will see Tom Habberfield move to centre.
In the forwards, Paul James comes in for Nicky Smith and Scott Baldwin for Sam Parry in the front row, Lloyd Ashley comes in for Alun Wyn Jones in the second row, and Guy Mercer and Rob McCusker replace Sam Cross and James King in the back row.
Talking points: Scott Baldwin returns for his first start for the Ospreys since his bizarre injury after having being bitten by a lion whilst away in South Africa.
Both sides are without a number of internationals as the autumn fixtures begin next week for Wales and Scotland.
But Ospreys and former All Blacks scrum-half Brendon Leonard is feeling confident.
“It’s been a good three weeks so it is important to keep building that momentum,” he said.
“It was a tough first couple of months, but we have been taking the positives out of those games. It was not a vintage performance last time out but we got the five points and need to keep building on that.
“Edinburgh had a good win last time out, but with some fresh legs we are feeling good.”
Key Battle: Blair Kinghorn and Dan Evans have caught the eye at full-back for their respective sides this season.
But both have been overlooked by their countries for the autumn campaigns and will be itching to prove a point this weekend.
The 20-year-old Kinghorn makes his 50th appearance for Edinburgh already while Evans notched four tries in Ospreys’ first two games in Europe last month.
Both are at their most dangerous with ball in hand and their battle could go some way to deciding who emerges victorious at Myreside.
Key Stat Edinburgh Rugby have won their last four games in all competitions after their 13-21 defeat at the hands at Leinster in Round 5.
Did you know? The last time Ospreys managed to win away from home was their last visit to Myreside on 3rd March of this year.
Edinburgh: Blair Kinghorn, Dougie Fife, James Johnstone, Phil Burleigh, Tom Brown; Jason Tovey, Nathan Fowles, Michele Rizzo, Neil Cochrane, Simon Berghan, Fraser McKenzie, Grant Gilchrist; Luke Crosbie, Jaime Ritchie, Cornell du Preez
Replacements: Cameron Fenton, Rory Sutherland, Murray McCallum, Magnus Bradbury, Lewis Carmichael, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Glenn Bryce, Chris Dean
Ospreys: Dan Evans, Daffyd Howells, James Hook, Ashley Beck, Tom Habberfield; Sam Davies, Brendon Leonard, Paul James, Scott Baldwin, Dmitri Arhip; Lloyd Ashley, Bradley Davies, Olly Cracknell, Guy Mercer, Rob McCusker
Replacements: Sam Parry, Gareth Thomas, Ma’afu Fia, Rory Thornton, James King, Reuben Morgan-Williams, Luke Price, Kieron Fonotia
Kick off: 5:30PM on Saturday, on Sky Sports
Match officials – Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU), AR1: Eddie Hogan-O’Connell (IRFU), AR2: Bob Nevins (SRU), Citing Commisioner: Iain Goodall (SRU), TMO: Neil Paterson (SRU)
Blair Kinghorn inspired Edinburgh to a fifth straight victory in all competitions as they grabbed a try bonus point at the death in their win over Ospreys in the Guinness PRO14.
The visitors began the better of the two sides but after a converted Dmitri Arhip try gave his side the lead it was all Edinburgh as Kinghorn, Nathan Fowles, Jason Tovey and Magnus Bradbury each crossed to secure the win.
Ospreys maintained possession as well as ever in the opening stages but the Edinburgh defence held firm until the 12th minute.
The ball was flung wide to the left flank, only for Dafydd Howells to be held up just a metre shy of the line – but swift recycling saw play switched to the right and eventually Arhip crossed in the corner – Sam Davies kicking the extras.
Tovey brought Edinburgh back in range with a straightforward penalty after Ospreys were penalised for not releasing.
But Davies knocked over a kick of his own after Edinburgh did not roll away on the 20-minute mark.
A moment of magic from Kinghorn then turned things in the home side’s advantage as a break and offload set up the eventual break that he finished off, coming around on the outside – Tovey adding the extras to level the scores.
And the fly-half then extended Edinburgh’s lead with two penalties as the home side applied the pressure.
Brendon Leonard was sin-binned for a high tackle to give away the first set of three points, with the visitors then penalised for holding on in front of the posts.
And Edinburgh’s momentum continued straight after the break as Fowles went in under the posts following another fine Kinghorn offload to finish a break that began inside their own half – Tovey again converting.
Edinburgh continued to dominate in the second half with Kinghorn and Tovey once again probing the Ospreys defensive line.
Phase after phase of attack from the home side eventually paid dividends before the hour mark as Tovey sold a dummy to the Ospreys defence and scored in what was approaching their 40th phase – the Welshman converting his own score.
Cameron Fenton came off the bench to make his Edinburgh debut on the hour mark, with Ospreys making a quadruple change shortly after as they went in search of a spark.
Their persistence paid off in possession but not points and Edinburgh rubbed salt into the Welsh wounds as Bradbury crashed over with the clock in the red to earn the home side the bonus point – Tovey again converting.
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03 Nov 2017
03 Nov 2017