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Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues- RaboDirect Pro12 Preview
Edinburgh will be pleased with the return of three Scotland internationals for Friday's clash with Cardiff Blues at Murrayfield.
Back-row David Denton and prop Geoff Cross both return from international duty. Nick de Luca also comes back after having three months out with an eye socket injury.
The home side will be missing the likes of Tim Visser, Greig Laidlaw, Matt Scott and Ross Ford who are all still with the Scotland squad.
Cardiff announce one change in the backs with centre Richard Smith coming in for the injured Dafydd Hewitt.
In the pack Robin Copeland starts at Number 8 alongside flankers Thomas Young and Josh Navidi who has been released from the Wales squad.
Michael Paterson switches to lock to partner James Down. Marc Breeze starts at tight-head prop as Fau Filise switches to the opposite side of the scrum.
Edinburgh: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Dougie Fife, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Ben Atiga, 11 Lee Jones, 10 Gregor Hunter, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Netani Talei, 7 Stuart McInally, 6 David Denton, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Steven Lawrie (c), 1 John Yapp.
Replacements: 16 Andy Titterrell, 17 Allan Jacobsen, 18 Willem Nel, 19 Sean Cox, 20 Hamish Watson, 21 Chris Leck, 22 Harry Leonard, 23 Tom Brown
Cardiff:15 Jason Tovey, 14 Owen Williams, 13 Richard Smith, 12 Gavin Evans (c), 11 Harry Robinson, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lewis Jones, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Josh Navidi, 5 James Down, 4 Michael Paterson, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 Marc Breeze, 1 Taufa'ao Filise.
Replacements:16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Benoit Bourrust, 19 Lou Reed, 20 Andries Pretorius, 21 Alex Walker, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Chris Czekaj
What they said...
Edinburgh head coach Michael Bradley
"Our position in the league [ninth] puts a finer point on the need for us to perform well and win this match at home," said Edinburgh boss Michael Bradley.
"We have some key players back with us from injury and from the Scotland camp, which will undoubtedly help our efforts to relive the success we enjoyed over Cardiff at the beginning of the season.
"They [Cardiff] are currently six points and two places above us in the RaboDirect PRO12, so it's plain to see the value of a home win as we look to climb the table in the end-of-season run in."
Cardiff Blues director of rugby Phil Davies
"Last weekend we played some good rugby but lost ourselves for 15 minutes, which was disappointing, and cost us. We're not gaining consistency in performances and therefore not getting consistent results.
"We've been developing our game this week and putting things in place we'd like to see on Friday night. If we perform well we can get the win.
"We have three league matches in February where we want to get wins and climb the league then a break where we can work on conditioning and so on."
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Guinness PRO12 Table
|Saturday 20th December|
|14:40||Glasgow Warriors vs Munster|
|17:15||Ospreys vs Ulster|
|Sunday 21st December|
|16:00||Dragons vs Zebre|
|Friday 26th December|
|14:05||Cardiff Blues vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|17:00||Munster vs Leinster|
|18:45||Ulster vs Connacht|
|Saturday 27th December|
|14:40||Glasgow vs Edinburgh|
|17:15||Ospreys vs Scarlets|
|Sunday 28th December|
|14:00||Zebre vs Treviso|
|Thursday 1st January|
|14:05||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Cardiff Blues|
|17:00||Connacht vs Munster|
|Friday 2nd January|
|19:35||Edinburgh vs Glasgow Warriors|
|Saturday 3rd January|
|14:00||Treviso vs Zebre|
|14:40||Leinster vs Ulster|
|17:05||Scarlets vs Ospreys|
|Friday 9th January|
|19:35||Connacht vs Edinburgh|
|19:35||Glasgow vs Scarlets|
|Saturday 10th January|
|14:40||Cardiff Blues vs Leinster|
|15:00||Zebre vs Munster|
|Sunday 11th January|
|14:00||Treviso vs Ulster|
|16:00||Ospreys vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Wednesday 14th January|
|TBC||Leinster vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Ospreys|
|TBC||Ulster vs Benetton Treviso|
|TBC||Munster vs Cardiff Blues|
|Friday 19th December|
|Cardiff Blues 21 - 9 Scarlets|
|Edinburgh 48 - 0 Treviso|
|Leinster 21 - 11 Connacht|
|Sunday 30th November|
|Glasgow Warriors 19 - 15 Dragons|
|Saturday 29th November|
|Connacht 14 - 8 Scarlets|
|Leinster 18 - 12 Ospreys|
|Zebre 18 - 10 Edinburgh|
|Friday 28th November|
|Cardiff Blues 36 - 25 Treviso|
|Munster 21 - 20 Ulster|
|Sunday 23rd November|
|Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff Blues|
|Treviso 24 - 24 Leinster|
|Friday 21st November|
|Ulster 25 - 16 Ospreys|
|Connacht 43 - 3 Zebre|
|Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow Warriors|
|Dragons 12 - 38 Munster|
|Saturday 1st November|
|Ulster 23 - 6 Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Scarlets 28 - 13 Zebre|
|Cardiff Blues 24 - 28 Munster|
|Friday 31st October|
|Ospreys 26 - 11 Connacht|
|Glasgow 17 - 9 Benetton Treviso|
|Leinster 33 - 8 Edinburgh|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com