Edinburgh coach: Hard work starts against Ulster

Nasi Manu starts for Edinburgh against Ulster tonight
Nasi Manu starts for Edinburgh against Ulster tonight
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Edinburgh Rugby head coach Alan Solomons has praised his team for their unbeaten start to the Guinness Pro12 campaign – but has warned them that the hard work starts tonight against 

The Capital club have already seen off Leinster, Treviso and Ospreys to sit second in the league ahead of this evening’s encounter at BT Murrayfield (7.45pm).

However, those three matches were spread out during September and early October and from tonight Edinburgh start a run of league and European clashes on 16 consecutive weekends.

That will stretch their resources and also test Solomons’ juggling of his squad and he is looking forward to the challenge.

“As rugby coaches and players you want regular fixtures so that you can build up momentum. We have managed to build up a bit of momentum during the ‘stop-start’ season so far, but now comes the real test of our credentials,” Solomons said.

“Can we keep our good run going for the next few weeks? Only time will tell, but what I do know is that I am very happy with the strength in depth I have in the squad now and when the guys come back from Scotland duties they will only add to that.

“Ulster have consistently been one of the best sides in the Pro12 and they always give a really good account of themselves, but we beat them in pre-season and we are at home in this game so we want to go out there and try and get on the front foot early on.”

Solomons has made three changes to the starting side that beat Ospreys 20-9 at Murrayfield a fortnight ago.

Scotland cap Hamish Watsonstarts at number seven, while Nasi Manu is fit again and joins him in the back-row.

They have replaced Roddy Grant and Cornell Du Preez, while Nathan Fowles gets the nod ahead of Sean Kennedy at scrum-half.

The rest of the starting line-up remains the same while Will Helu, who has been playing for Tonga in the Rugby World Cup, could make his debut for the club off the bench.

Ulster travel to the Capital in fifth place and have won two of their three league matches to date.

Edinburgh team: Tonks; Brown, Dean, Strauss, Hoyland, Burleigh, Fowles; Sutherland, Cochrane, Andress, Bresler, McKenzie, Coman (c), Watson, Manu. Subs: Turner, Dell, Bergan, Toolis, Du Preez, Kennedy, Helu, Cuthbert.