Edinburgh Rugby head coach Michael Bradley has made three personnel changes to the side that defeated Newcastle Falcons (20-17) for tomorrow night’s curtain-raising visit of Cardiff Blues in the opening match of the RaboDirect PRO12 at Murrayfield.
The match is Bradley’s first competitive encounter at the capital club since he took the helm at the beginning of the summer and, having come through back-to-back pre-season victories, excitement is building towards the first home game.
He said: “Home advantage is massive in all sports and rugby is no different. The concept of the stadium within the stadium was excellent last Friday night. It looked great and the crowd reacted really positively to the players and the action. It’s a completely different feel.
“Now we need to get more people to come in and experience it, bring their kids and their friends and get a real buzz about Edinburgh Rugby and build on that excitement and enthusiasm for the match-day experience.
“We’ve had a good week preparation-wise. The pre-season results went well for us in terms of competitive games, tough rugby matches and testing our systems. The results have given us confidence that if we play well we should get a positive result but make no mistake, tomorrow night will be a different ask.
“Cardiff will be an extremely competitive side in the RaboDirect PRO12 and would expect to be one of the top four playoff teams. That’s what we’re striving for so already we have an important match on our hands tomorrow night.
Tim Visser (wing) and Matt Scott (centre) return in place of the injured Tom Brown (dead leg) and John Houston who drops to the bench.
Their reintroduction means that Lee Jones switches wings to accommodate the Dutchman, Jim Thompson moves to full-back and Simon Webster comes in-field one place to take Thompson’s vacated outside-centre position.
Up front the only change sees promising prop Lewis Niven earn the starting berth at tight-head with try-scorer Steven Lawrie winning the first battle with Andrew Kelly to start at hooker.
Young Grant Gilchrist will once again partner Steven Turnbull in the second-row, with the trusted back-row trio of Sean Cox, Roddy Grant and David Denton also retaining the right to start the match.
Edinburgh Rugby team to play Cardiff Blues on Friday 2 September (kick-off 7.30pm) – RaboDirect PRO12
15 Jim Thompson
14 Lee Jones
13 Simon Webster
12 Matt Scott
11 Tim Visser
10 Phil Godman
9 Greig Laidlaw CAPTAIN
1 Kyle Traynor
2 Steven Lawrie
3 Lewis Niven
4 Grant Gilchrist
5 Steven Turnbull
6 Sean Cox
7 Roddy Grant
8 David Denton
16 Andrew Kelly
17 Robin Hislop
18 Jack Gilding
19 Esteban Lozada
20 Hamish Watson
21 Chris Leck
22 Gregor Hunter
23 John Houston
Not available through injury: Tom Brown (leg), Ben Cairns (knee)
Highlights of tomorrow's match will be show on STV Rugby on Sunday night at 10.45pm.