Solomons opts to rest Test trio for Thomond Park

Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons has handed a debut to Lewis Carmichael
Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons has handed a debut to Lewis Carmichael
Have your say

Edinburgh coach Alan Solomons has made seven changes to his starting line-up for this afternoon’s match against Munster in Limerick.

Following last weekend’s disappointing 33-20 home defeat by Leinster they will travel to Thomond Park without the Test trio of Ross Ford, WP Nel and Grant Gilchrist, all of whom have been rested.

With Scotland Test players only allowed to play five consecutive games, Solomons has opted to stand down the key trio for this one, with young back-rower Jamie Ritchie given another week off.

A shoulder injury to Phil Burleigh sees yet another new centre pairing, with Michael Allen shifting from the wing and the 22-year-old Chris Dean returning to action in the No.12 shirt.

Test cap Damien Hoyland is also back for his first game of the season on the right wing, while Scotland scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne is promoted off the bench after being kept out by Nathan Fowles in the first three games.

In the pack, Cornell du Preez is back at No.8 after returning off the bench in the Leinster loss and Stuart McInally takes the full captaincy with Gilchrist not involved.

Kevin Bryce makes his first start in his new position of tighthead and Fraser McKenzie replaces the co-captain at second row. With the injured Anton Bresler facing a couple of months on the sidelines, 21-year-old lock Lewis Carmichael comes on to the bench and is in line to make his Edinburgh debut.

“I think it will be really good for him to be involved this weekend,” said Solomons of the academy graduate, who has been playing for Melrose. “He has played well for his club and the feedback we are getting about his performances from everyone around Scotland week in and week out is massively positive.

“I think the time he spent with us last year was invaluable because he got into a professional training regime, picked up a bit of weight and has been able to hold that weight.

“He is a very intelligent boy and an intelligent player and I have been very impressed by him.”

Solomons is expecting a tough game this afternoon as his side seek to even up their win-loss record for the season.

“I think they are always a good side, especially at Thomond Park. They have a couple of wins already and we are prepared for a tough test,” said Solomons.

Edinburgh lost to Munster in Cork during the late season collapse last season which saw them slip to a ninth-place finish and Solomons believes a match at the province’s spiritual home in Limerick presents an even greater challenge for his struggling squad.

“My experience of it over the years was that they had good support in both cities, but Thomond seemed to be their traditional home,” said the coach. “They are centralising everything and making it their main home.”

Munster present a different challenge to that faced by the more expansive Leinster eight days ago and Solomons added: “We are up for a big test up front and the guys that are playing know there will be some challenges there that is for sure.

“Our defence last week was very disappointing, massively disappointing. Obviously that has been addressed in the reviews and the practices and the players know what is expected of them, that is the key and they must do better this week.”

Edinburgh: 15. Glenn Bryce, 14. Damien Hoyland, 13. Michael Allen, 12. Chris Dean, 11. Tom Brown, 10. Duncan Weir, 9. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 1. Rory Sutherland, 2. Stuart McInally (c), 3. Kevin Bryce, 4. Fraser McKenzie, 5. Ben Toolis, 6. Magnus Bradbury, 7. Hamish Watson, 8. Cornell Du Preez.

Subs: 16. Neil Cochrane, 17. Jack Cosgrove, 18. Allan Dell, 19. Lewis Carmichael, 20. John Hardie, 21. Sean Kennedy, 22. Blair Kinghorn, 23. Rory Scholes.