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Edinburgh v Ospreys - RaboDirect PRO12 match preview
Edinburgh have made six changes to their line-up for Friday's RaboDirect PRO12 clash with defending champions Ospreys.
Crucially the Murrayfield-based side will welcome back British and Irish Lions hooker Ross Ford to their line-up.
Izak van der Westhuizen and Perry Parker also come into the pack, while Sep Visser, Dougie Fife and Richie Rees added to the back division.
Head coach Michael Bradley, though, is without a number of players with Geoff Cross, Nick De Luca, David Denton, Grant Gilchrist, Greig Laidlaw, Matt Scott, Tim Visser all on international duty.
Andrew Bishop will set a new appearance record for the Ospreys when he lines up in the centres.
Bishop, whose debut came against the Borders in 2005, will be making his 181st appearance for the region, moving ahead of Paul James at the top of the list.
At the other end of the spectrum, Owen Williams makes his RaboDirect PRO12 debut - with Nicky Thomas set for his first domestic appearance if he comes off the bench.
Edinburgh: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Sep Visser, 13 Dougie Fife, 12 James King, 11 Tom Brown, 10 Gregor Hunter, 9 Richie Rees, 1 John Yapp, 2 Ross Ford, 3 Willem Nel, 4 Perry Parker, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 6 Sean Cox (capt), 7 Roddy Grant, 8 Stuart McInally.
Replacements: 16 Alun Walker, 17 Allan Jacobsen, 18 Lewis Niven, 19 Robert McAlpine, 20 Hamish Watson, 21 Chris Leck, 22 John Houston, 23 Mike Penn
Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Tom Isaacs, 13 Andrew Bishop, 12 Jonathan Spratt, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Matthew Morgan, 9 Rhys Webb, 1 Ryan Bevington, 2 Scott Baldwin, 3 Owen Williams, 4 Lloyd Peers, 5 James King, 6 George Stowers, 7 Sam Lewis, 8 Joe Bearman (capt).
Replacements: 16 Duncan Jones, 17 Matthew Dwyer, 18 Nicky Thomas, 19 Ian Gough, 20 Morgan Allen, 21 Tom Habberfield, 22 Matthew Morgan, 23 Ross Jones
What they said...
Edinburgh head coach Michael Bradley
"We return for the first match in the 'second phase' of the season and look to get moving against a formidable opponent in the shape of the PRO12 champions.
"They come here full of confidence having won five on the bounce in the league and will be keen to maintain their run and underline their championship credentials.
"Both matches last season were close affairs; at Liberty Stadium they cleared their lines and ran the full length to score in the last minute and here, at Murrayfield, they edged us by a single point, thanks to the converted try-of-the-season from [Hanno] Dirksen."
Ospreys head coach, Steve Tandy
"This is the first of two big PRO12 games over the next couple of weeks that will really test us. Edinburgh away and then Cardiff Blues home are always tough games, and there's no doubt that we are going to have to show plenty of spirit, commitment and desire on and off the pitch if we are going to get what we want from these matches.
"There's a lot of responsibility on some young shoulders during international periods and it's been pleasing to see players stepping up to the mark and really taking their chances.
"What equally important to us is the input of senior guys like Duncan, Bearman, Gough and Fussell. We've kept hold of a group of experienced players who have the right attitude, knowing that we can mould younger players around them."
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Guinness PRO12 Table
|Friday 6th March|
|19:35||Cardiff Blues vs Connacht|
|19:35||Glasgow Warriors vs Zebre|
|Saturday 7th March|
|14:40||Ospreys vs Munster|
|17:15||Scarlets vs Leinster|
|18:00||Treviso vs Edinburgh|
|Sunday 8th March|
|16:00||Dragons vs Ulster|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:35||Leinster vs Glasgow|
|19:35||Ulster vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 28th March|
|TBC||Benetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|TBC||Ospreys vs Zebre|
|14:40||Scarlets vs Edinburgh|
|17:15||Munster vs Connacht|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:35||Glasgow vs Cardiff Blues|
|19:35||Benetton Treviso vs Ospreys|
|Saturday 11th April|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Munster|
|TBC||Zebre vs Scarlets|
|14:40||Connacht vs Ulster|
|Sunday 12th April|
|16:00||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Leinster|
|Friday 24th April|
|19:35||Edinburgh vs Zebre|
|19:35||Ulster vs Leinster|
|Saturday 25th April|
|TBC||Munster vs Benetton Treviso|
|TBC||Cardiff Blues vs Ospreys|
|TBC||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Scarlets|
|TBC||Connacht vs Glasgow|
|Saturday 9th May|
|TBC||Ulster vs Munster|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Connacht 53 - 5 Treviso|
|Zebre 23 - 17 Dragons|
|Cardiff Blues 21 - 15 Edinburgh|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Munster 22 - 10 Glasgow Warriors|
|Friday 27th February|
|Ospreys 9 - 9 Leinster|
|Ulster 25 - 20 Scarlets|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|Dragons 25 - 30 Connacht|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Glasgow 19 - 16 Ospreys|
|Scarlets 25 - 25 Munster|
|Friday 20th February|
|Edinburgh 17 - 20 Ulster|
|Leinster 29 - 8 Zebre|
|Benetton Treviso 40 - 24 Cardiff Blues|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Leinster 14 - 16 Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Zebre 10 - 54 Glasgow|
|Scarlets 32 - 14 Connacht|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Munster 33 - 16 Cardiff Blues|
|Friday 13th February|
|Edinburgh 24 - 16 Ospreys|
|Ulster 43 - 3 Benetton Treviso|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com