Rugby: Edinburgh line up friendly at home to Northampton

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Edinburgh Rugby are to face former European Cup winners Northampton Saints in a glamour pre-season friendly at Murrayfield on Friday, August 24.

The encounter will be Edinburgh’s second against opposition from the English Premiership on consecutive Friday’s having agreed to travel a week earlier to Newcastle who have just been assured of retaining their status despite finishing bottom; none of the teams from the division below have been deemed to have passed eligibility criteria.

Confirmation of Edinburgh’s pre-season schedule is expected shortly and the two matches are sure to be testing with Northampton providing six players to the England squad about to set off on a three Test tour of South Africa.

As for Newcastle they have celebrated their survival by splashing out to sign Scotland caps Scott MacLeod and Rory Lawson, amongst others.

Meanwhile, star Edinburgh No 8 Netani Talei - he has just been named in the Heineken European Cup ‘team of the tournament’ - is in line for the honour of captaining Fiji against many of his club-mates when they meet in Lautoka on June 16.

And in a development which will surely serve as a warning to the Scots it has emerged that the Fijians will go into action on the back of Pacific Cup matches against Japan and Samoa on preceding weekends under the captaincy of 29-year-old Talei.

Announcing the appointment that makes Talei odds-on favourite to lead out Fiji against the Scots team manager Isei Rayawa said: “We have been monitoring his performance in Europe, he is a quality player.

“We have seen how he makes decisions on the field and he will certainly demand respect from his mates.

“His experience at international level will certainly boost the players to give their best.

“He is the best number eight in the Heineken Cup and I believe he will be a good role model to the players.”