Edinburgh Rugby head coach Richard Cockerill aims to take advantage of Ulster’s defeat by Scarlets last night when his team takes on Dragons at Rodney Parade tomorrow (kick-off 5.30pm).
Scarlets thrashed the visitors 29-12 at Parc y Scarlets to clinch a bonus-point victory. The 2017 champions scored four tries and had two disallowed by the officials.
It means Edinburgh can leapfrog third-placed Ulster with a bonus-point win tomorrow and Cockerill is keen to take advantage.
He said: “We had a few days off after the win over Scarlets, but Dragons is a really big game for us.
“There’s a lot of noise that it’s a really important game for them, but it’s a really important game for us too. If we can get a positive result at Dragons then it puts us right in the mix for the play-offs.
“I expect us to perform well and I expect us to win on Sunday. We’ve got a good group of guys who showed against a vastly experienced Scarlets team that we can stand up and play. We need to keep up those levels of intensity and physicality this weekend.”
Scotland internationalists Ben Toolis and Darcy Graham return to the starting line-up while Italy prop Pietro Ceccarelli makes his first start for the club after featuring from the bench against Zebre and Scarlets.
Two other matches took place in the Guinness PRO14 last night, with Scotland’s other representatives Glasgow Warriors sweeping aside the Cardiff Blues with a 40-15 win that keeps them well out in front of the Conference A table and lays down a marker for Cardiff’s return visit in the European Champions Cup.
Dominating the first half with open play, the Warriors wrapped up the bonus point with tries from Adam Ashe, Niko Matawalu, Callum Gibbins and Tommy Seymour, all converted by Pete Horne.
Cardiff secured more second-half possession with tries from hooker Kris Dacey and fly-half Jarrod Evans who, having kicked a first-half penalty, converted his own.
However, Glasgow made sure with further tries from Rory Hughes and, from his own 22, an interception by man of the match Matawalu which Horne converted.
Cardiff opened the scoring in the fourth minute with a penalty from Evans, however the remainder of the half was dominated by Glasgow playing 15-man rugby at tempo and putting the try bonus point in the bag.
Flanker Ashe went over in the 10th minute, finishing off a short-side attack after a last-gasp effort from Cardiff full-back Tom Williams had stopped centre Nick Grigg from scoring.
Makawalu, on the wing for his 100th game in a Warriors jersey, grabbed the second, coming through centre field following a Glasgow lineout.
After 31 minutes Grigg set flanker Calum Gibbins free and the captain reached out beyond a tackle to touch down.
Two minutes from the break winger Tommy Seymour ran in the fourth try, set free by Grigg. For the fourth time, Horne converted.
Cardiff had several times been able to set up attacking position from penalties to the corner but each time were denied, with a drive by prop Brad Thyer, in the last minute, turned down by referee John Lacey after TMO evidence.
Having had another ‘score’ denied by TMO consultation at the restart, Cardiff immediately drove over for an unconverted try from Dacey.
Glasgow soon forged ahead, though, when substitute winger Hughes got to a side-footed kick from scrum-half Ali Price.
Cardiff hit back with a well-worked try from a lineout touched down in the corner by Evans, from where he converted.
They were threatening again when Matawalu intercepted, to run in under the Cardiff bar from his own 22 with Horne converting and wrap things up.
Elswehere Leinster thrashed Ospreys 52-7.
Edinburgh: 15. Dougie Fife; 14. Darcy Graham, 13. James Johnstone, 12. Chris Dean, 11. Duhan van der Merwe; 10. Simon Hickey; 9. Henry Pyrgos (c); 1. Pierre Schoeman, 2. Ross Ford, 3. Pietro Ceccarelli, 4. James Hodgson, 5. Callum Hunter-Hill, 6. Ben Toolis, 7. Ally Miller, 8. Luke Hamilton. Subs: David Cherry; 17. Rory Sutherland; 18. Murray McCallum; 19. Callum Atkinson; 20. Lewis Wynne; 21. Sean Kennedy; 22. Jaco van der Walt; 23. Juan Pablo Socino.