Michael Bradley will make his first return to the Sportsground as head coach of Edinburgh Rugby tomorrow (Friday) as the club seek a return to winning ways against his former club, Connacht (kick-off 7.30pm).
Bradley spent seven years as director of rugby at the Galway club and helped build Connacht into highly competitive oufit, especially at home, while also guiding the team to three Amlin Challenge Cup semi-finals.
Despite his ties to the club, Bradley says it will be “business as usual” when the teams take to the pitch on Friday.
He said: “On a personal level I’ve a lot of fond memories from my time at Connacht and am looking forward to going back but, from a performance perspective, I know exactly how tough it is for teams to take any points away from the Sportground.
“I know the set-up and the side very well and have naturally tried to use that to our advantage as we’ve prepared for this match however our emphasis has, as ever, been on how we need to play to win, rather than on any sort of inside knowledge.
“When the game kicks off tomorrow it will be business as usual, with our focus fully on coming away with the win.”
The Scotsmen can reflect positively on the sides’ last meeting at Murrayfield when they got their campaign off the ground with a 19-14 win.
Bradley has made four personnel changes to the starting line-up from the club’s away loss to the Dragons last weekend.
There are three changes in the backs with Chris Paterson, Jim Thompson and Gregor Hunter starting the at full-back, outside-centre and stand-off respectively, while Andrew Kelly gets his second start of the season at hooker.
Paterson and Thompson replace Sep Visser and the injured John Houston while Kelly and Hunter swap places with Phil Godman and Alun Walker who now occupy the bench.
Two further changes have been made to the bench with Stirling County prop Mike MacDonald brought in for the injured Robin Hislop (rib) and Dougie Fife taking the full-back replacement space vacated by Thompson
EDINBURGH RUGBY team to play Connacht at the Sportsground on Friday 24 February (kick-off 7.30pm)
15 Chris Paterson
14 Tom Brown
13 Jim Thompson
12 Matt Scott
11 Tim Visser
10 Gregor Hunter
9 Chris Leck
1 Kyle Traynor
2 Andrew Kelly
3 Jack Gilding
4 Grant Gilchrist
5 Sean Cox
6 Stuart McInally
7 Roddy Grant CAPTAIN
8 Netani Talei
16 Alun Walker
17 Mike MacDonald (Stirling County)
18 Ulises Gamboa
19 Esteban Lozada
20 Hamish Watson
21 Alex Black
22 Phil Godman
23 Dougie Fife
Unavailable through injury: Ben Cairns (knee), James King (groin), Alan MacDonald (illness), Robin Hislop (rib), John Houston (neck strain)
Unavailable through international duty: Mike Blair, Geoff Cross, Nick De Luca, David Denton, Allan Jacobsen, Lee Jones, Greig Laidlaw, Harry Leonard (U20) and Ross Rennie