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Hot Scots put Schmidt on alert

COACH Joe Schmidt has pointed to fly-half Greig Laidlaw and wing Tim Visser as the main Edinburgh dangers to Leinster in the PRO12 League at The RDS on Saturday.

"This week's test will be a big one because we saw last year, in their fine run to the semi finals of the Heineken Cup, how good a side Edinburgh are becoming," mused Schmidt.

"This year they seem to have improved further with greater strength in depth across the park. Tim Visser has six tries in just three games and Greg Laidlaw controls the game for them astutely," he warned.

"Having already recorded an away victory over Cardiff Blues this year, they will travel to Dublin this weekend with confidence.

"We're well aware of their many threats. It'll be another big challenge for us and we'll need to be more co-ordinated than last weekend".

It is just as well that European Player of the Year Rob Kearney and Ireland centre Gordon D'Arcy are scheduled, in all likelihood, to return for their seasonal debuts.


Thankfully, hooker Richardt Strauss has been diagnosed with a mild concussion to the head from the 19-18 defeat of Benetton Treviso out in Italy. It is safe to presume Strauss will be ruled out for Saturday.

Luckily, there are no other injury worries to consume the management as there is quite a heavy list of casualties already on the road to recovery.

"The Treviso game was a real test -- as we knew it would be. We were sluggish in the first half which could be a result of the hot weather conditions and the fact that we were integrating players back into the panel for the first time," Schmidt said.

"But I was pleased that we managed to get the result. The players stuck to their task and ground out a good win against a combative and well-coached Treviso side."

Leinster's preparations have been rightly hindered by the day of respect taken at the club to mourn the tragic death of Ulster centre Nevin Spence, his brother Graham and his father Noel.

"Nevin was an extremely talented player and a hugely respected and popular young man within our squad, especially among all those players who played with him at underage representative levels and in the Ireland Senior and Wolfhounds panels in recent years," reflected Schmidt.

"The rugby, sporting and wider public have all been greatly affected by this tragedy. And it goes without saying that the thoughts and prayers of the squad -- and everyone in Leinster Rugby -- are with the Spence family and all of our friends in Ulster Rugby."


Ulster's RaboDirect PRO12 fixture against Zebre this Friday has been postponed due to Spence's tragic death.

"Further to the death of Ulster player Nevin Spence last weekend, the match between Zebre and Ulster due to be played on 21st September 2012 in Parma will be postponed to a later date," read a club statement yesterday.

"An announcement will be made in due course with the rescheduled match information. A moment of silence will be observed at all RaboDirect PRO12 matches this coming weekend."