All change for stretched side as in­juries back Solomons into a cor­ner

The Herald - Herald Sport - - RUGBY UNION - LEW IS S TUART

FOR three years, con­sis­tency of se­lec­tion has been one of the hall­marks of Alan Solomons as the Ed­in­burgh head coach. That all changes this week­end against Mun­ster when he makes seven changes in per­son­nel plus one po­si­tional switch from the team that failed against Le­in­ster last week.

Some of the changes are to rest play­ers who are likely to see a lot of ac­tion at club and in­ter­na­tional level this sea­son, oth­ers are forced on him by in­juries that cost him both cen­tres from last week’s game and Nathan Fowles at scrum half.

It is not all bad news, how­ever. Damien Hoy­land, fresh from mak­ing his first Scot­land start in the sum­mer, and Cor­nell du Peez, who has been re­cov­er­ing from clean-up surgery on the leg he broke a cou­ple of years ago, are both able to make their first starts of the sea­son.

The big gam­ble, how­ever, comes in the front row where Kevin Bryce is handed his place af­ter play­ing only 15 min­utes off the bench in his new po­si­tion of prop. Solomons said it would take him a long time to con­vert from hooker to tight­head, but with WP Nel rested and Si­mon Berghan in­jured he has no choice but to throw Bryce in at the deep end.

It will be a tough first start against David Kil­coyne, one of the strong­est and most ex­pe­ri­enced scrum­magers around, and since all ev­i­dence sug­gests Ed­in­burgh need to win the for­ward bat­tle to have a chance, the re­sult of that bat­tle should prove de­ci­sive.

“We are stretched, there is no doubt at the mo­ment that in­juries and un­avail­abil­i­ties are stretch­ing us,” Solomons ad­mit­ted. “Mun­ster are al­ways a good side, es­pe­cially at Thomond Park. They have a cou­ple of wins al­ready and we are pre­pared for a tough test.

“We are up for a big test up front. The guys that are play­ing know there will be some chal­lenges there, that is for sure.”

Mun­ster did lose their last home game, a one-point de­feat to Cardiff Blues, but have won both their away games. Back at their tra­di­tional strong­hold, they are look­ing to re-es­tab­lish their fortress men­tal­ity.

Against that, Ed­in­burgh had some en­cour­age­ment but more dis­ap­point­ment in their home de­feat to Le­in­ster, both de­fence and at­tack look­ing frag­ile when they needed to be strong.

“Very dis­ap­point­ing, mas­sively disap- point­ing,” said Solomons of the de­fence. “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.

“We also blew a num­ber of chances [in at­tack]. We need to fin­ish off the chances we cre­ate. We need to be clin­i­cal with our fin­ish­ing.”

I Keat­ley; D Sweet­nam, K Earls, C Bo­hane, R O’Ma­hony; T Bleyen­daal, C Mur­ray; D Kil­coyne, N Scan­nell, J Ryan; J Kleyn, B Hol­land (Capt); D O’Cal­laghan, J O’Donoghue, CJ Stander D Casey, J Cronin, S Archer, D Ryan, C Oliver, D Wil­liams, D Gog­gin, A Woot­ton

G Bryce; D Hoy­land, M Allen, C Dean, T Brown; D Weir, S Hi­dalgo-Clyne; R Suther­land, S McI­nally (Capt), K Bryce, F McKen­zie, B Too­lis, M Brad­bury, H Wat­son, C Du Preez N Cochrane, J Cos­grove, A Dell, L Carmichael, J Hardie, S Kennedy, B Kinghorn, R Sc­holes

B White­house (Wales)

Mun­ster Ed­in­burgh Ref­eree Re­place­ments Re­place­ments

GAM­BLE: Kevin Bryce will play at tight­head prop in his first start.

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