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Leinster hold upper hand after Euro heroics from Bradley's men

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Michael Bradley

Michael Bradley

Michael Bradley

Leinster's hitherto smooth passage en route to a remarkable twin trophy haul continues apace at the RDS this evening -- and a big win coupled with results elsewhere could see Joe Schmidt's side clinch a home semi-final.

However, the Kiwi will be wary of Heineken Cup surprise packets Edinburgh who, fresh from their stunning success against French cup kings Toulouse last weekend, bring all but a third of last weekend's starters to Dublin.

Coach Michael Bradley, who has barely concealed his contempt for the league as he concentrates on charting new territory in Europe for the Scots, will be eager for his side to retain the momentum garnered in Murrayfield last weekend.

"We face a very tough task in Dublin this weekend against a side who comfortably made the semi-finals for the fourth successive season," said Bradley, whose side lie marooned next to one from the basement of the league.

"As league leaders and European pace-setters, they will be keen to make big statements between now and the continuation of their European title defence."

change

Chris Leck coming in for the injured Mike Blair at scrum-half is the only change in the back-line.

In the pack, however, it is a different story, with Kyle Traynor replacing the injured Allan Jacobsen (face) at loose-head prop, and Esteban Lozada reintroduced to the squad to start alongside Sean Cox in the second-row.

In the back-row, Stuart McInally and Roddy Grant swap places with David Denton and Ross Rennie respectively as the Gunners seek only their second Pro12 away win of the season.

For Leinster, Ireland No 8 Jamie Heaslip will skipper a side which retains just three faces from their European clash with the Blues.

Isaac Boss partners Ian Madigan -- second in the Pro12's try-scoring list this season with seven in 17 games -- at half-back.

Kevin McLaughlin, Eoin Reddan and Richardt Strauss are named amongst a replacements bench which sees a blend of youth and experience, including 21-year-old Lansdowne prop Martin Moore, who could make his debut for the province whom he previously captained at U-20 level.

Verdict: Leinster

Leinster -- I Nacewa; D Kearney, F McFadden, G D'Arcy, F Carr; I Madigan, I Boss; H van der Merwe, S Cronin, N White; D Browne, D Toner; R Ruddock, S Jennings, J Heaslip (capt).

Reps: R Strauss, J McGrath, M Moore, K McLaughlin, L Auva'a, E Reddan, N Reid, B Macken.

Edinburgh -- T Brown; L Jones, N De Luca, M Scott, T Visser; G Laidlaw (capt), C Leck; K Traynor, R Ford, G Cross, E Lozada, S Cox, S McInally, R Grant, N Talei. Reps: A Kelly, R Hislop, J Gilding, G Gilchrist, D Denton, R Rennie, P Godman, J Thompson.

REF -- P Fitzgibbon (IRFU).

Leinster v Edinburgh,

Live, TG4, 7.45

Irish Independent