Head coach Rob Moffat welcomes back three Scotland internationalists, including Mike Blair, into Edinburgh’s starting line-up for the Magners League visit of Scarlets at Murrayfield on Friday with three other players, who featured in the RBS 6 Nations triumph in Ireland, named amongst the replacements.
Blair has been chosen to captain the side containing Nick De Luca and Alan MacDonald while Ross Ford, Allan Jacobsen and Jim Hamilton will begin the match on the substitutes’ bench.
Moffat admits he is pleased to bring the six immediately back into his plans and believes that extra level of competition for places will push the squad forward towards qualifying for the play-offs.
Moffat said: "It is good to see our internationalists back available following that good win in Ireland – that is a positive for us.
"What we want to do between now and the end of the season is to keep everything as competitive as possible in our squad.
"With two players challenging for every spot that is how we will get the most out of our season.
"The onus is on everybody to perform well – our progress so far this season has been a real squad effort.
"The front row is a good example of that level of competition for places. Whether we select Allan Jacobsen or Kyle Traynor at prop or Andrew Kelly or Ross Ford at hooker, they know that whoever is not playing will be pushing the other one hard."
After recovering from a minor knee injury, Jim Thompson, who has already scored two tries so far this season, has reclaimed the full-back berth and Moffat says he is keen to see what the 25-year-old will offer.
He added: "I thought Ben Cairns did really well at 15 against Ospreys, but it is good to be able to bring Jim back into the team.
"It has been a frustrating season for Jim – he has had a few injuries and not played a lot of rugby.
"But he is now fully fit and I’m looking forward to seeing him play again."
Following Thompson’s reintroduction into the side, Ben Cairns returns to his familiar role of outside centre and, after scoring the quickest hat-trick in Magners League history, wing Tim Visser joins him in the back line.
Stand-off Phil Godman – an unused replacement for Scotland at Croke Park – will wear Edinburgh’s number 10 jersey for the first time since late January lining alongside Blair in a familiar half-back combination.
On the bench, flanker Scott Newlands has recovered from an eye injury while stand-off David Blair has overcome the head knock which forced him to be replaced against Ospreys.
Long term casualty Simon Cross is still out with a knee injury along with Andrew Easson (knee).
Allister Hogg is still ruled out with a hip injury which required surgery in December and Chris Paterson (damaged kidney) is still recovering from the injury set-back he suffered in February.
Lock Craig Hamilton is sidelined with a head knock while Ross Samson (broken arm) will miss the rest of the season.
Edinburgh Rugby Club team to play Scarlets in the Magners League at Murrayfield (Friday 26 March, kick off 7.30pm)
15 Jim Thompson
14 Mark Robertson
13 Nick De Luca
12 Ben Cairns
11 Tim Visser
10 Phil Godman
9 Mike Blair (captain)
1 Kyle Traynor
2 Andrew Kelly
3 Geoff Cross
4 Scott MacLeod
5 Steve Turnbull
6 Alan MacDonald
7 Ross Rennie
8 Roddy Grant
Substitutes: Ross Ford, Allan Jacobsen, Jim Hamilton, Scott Newlands, Greig Laidlaw, David Blair, John Houston.