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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
|Sunday 21st December|
|16:00||Dragons vs Zebre|
|Friday 26th December|
|14:05||Cardiff Blues vs Dragons|
|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||Scarlets vs Connacht|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Ospreys|
|TBC||Ulster vs Benetton Treviso|
|TBC||Zebre vs Glasgow|
|TBC||Munster vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 20th December|
|Ospreys 31 - 20 Ulster|
|Glasgow Warriors 21 - 18 Munster|
|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|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com