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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
|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|
|Sunday 11th January|
|Ospreys 22 - 11 Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Benetton Treviso 20 - 24 Ulster|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com