Guinness PRO12
Solomons: Edinburgh injury list is worse I've seen
ESPN Staff
October 30, 2014
Grant Gilchrist, seen tackling Freddie Burns, has been ruled out with a broken arm © Getty Images

Edinburgh coach Alan Solomons admits he has never seen an injury list like the one currently hanging in the Murrayfield physio room.

Solomons has 18 players out injured - including new Scotland captain Grant Gilchrist - and another two away on international duty with the national side.

The coach admits he has been forced to scrape a side together ahead of their trip across the Irish sea to face reigning Guinness PRO12 champions Leinster at the RDS.

Solomons has been forced into 10 changes to the team which beat Lyon 25-17 in the European Rugby Challenge Cup and concedes his young squad will be up against it in Dublin.

"In all my years of coaching at professional level, I've never experienced an injury list like we have at present," he said. "Eighteen players injured and two on national duty presents a huge challenge for the team, especially as we are playing last year's champions, Leinster, at the RDS.

"It is an opportunity for many of our young players and will be a chance to see how they measure up at this early point in their careers."

Lock Gilchrist was due to captain Scotland in their three Autumn Tests until he fractured his forearm against Lyon last week. But he has now joined a long list of wounded players that also includes second-row colleague Anton Bresler who sustained a knee injury in the same match.

The bruising clash with their French opponents also saw flanker Hamish Watson and fellow back row Roddy Grant both undergo operations on facial injuries, while centre Phil Burleigh picked up a knee injury. Sam Beard has been ruled out as well after suffering a concussion.

Those six join Ollie Atkins (ankle), Carl Bezuidenhuit (knee), Neil Cochrane (hamstring), Mike Coman (leg), Cornell Du Preez (leg), Jamie Farndale (knee), Stuart McInally (foot), Fraser McKenzie (knee), Matt Scott (shoulder), Michael Tait (knee), Alex Toolis (toe) and Brett Thompson (shoulder) on the list of first-team figures unavailable to Solomons.

Hooker Ross Ford and prop Alasdair Dickinson, meanwhile, are training with Vern Cotters' Scotland squad ahead of next weekend's clash with Argentina.

That means backs Nick McLennan and Joaquin Dominguez move from the bench to start at fullback and outside centre respectively while Dougie Fife - a late injury withdrawal from last Friday's XV - returns on the wing.

Andries Strauss, also withdrawn late through injury last Friday, takes the inside centre jersey and captain's armband for this game.

The pack sees James Hilterbrand, who came off the bench last week to put in a performance at flanker, start at hooker, with Ben Toolis moving up to start at lock.

Called straight into the starting line-up at lock is BT Premiership leaders Heriot's captain Jack Turley, while academy back rower Magnus Bradbury makes his senior debut on the blindside. Tomas Leonardi, who started last Friday's match at number eight, moves to openside. David Denton starts at eight.

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