Preview: Cardiff Blues v Edinburgh

Date published: December 8 2011

Cardiff Blues will seek their sixth consecutive win over Heineken Cup Pool 2 leaders Edinburgh at Cardiff City Stadium on Friday.

Cardiff Blues will seek their sixth consecutive win over Heineken Cup Pool 2 leaders Edinburgh at Cardiff City Stadium on Friday.

Both teams have won their opening two games in Europe this season but considering their record against their Scottish visitors, the home side will start as favourites.

With the international players returning, Cardiff have made eleven changes ahead of Friday's match.

The Blues make six changes in the backs, with only Casey Laulala remaining in the starting XV from the team that lost to Leinster last Friday. There are a further five changes in forwards with only Xavier Rush, Paul Tito and Fau Filise keeping their places in the pack.

Forwards coach Justin Burnell insists that their five-match winning run against the Scottish capital side will count for nothing when the teams clash this time.

Three wins on the trot in the Pro12, along with an 18-17 home win and a 21-14 victory on the road in last season's Heineken Cup leave the Blues looking for a sixth straight success.

“We do have a good record against Edinburgh but it counts for nothing at all now,” said Burnell.

“It is all about current form and they are a fantastic side.”

“They were shown up by Munster but even then they were scoring tries. They are very capable in attack and can score tries.”

“We are well aware that Edinburgh are a very good side. Michael Bradley has come in and given them a total overhaul, having done a fantastic job at Connacht.”

“They have formidable players like Tim Visser, Chris Paterson and Ross Ford and some of them are the form players in Europe.”

Meanwhile, Edinburgh Head coach Michael Bradley has made just one personnel change.

Versatile forward Sean Cox moves from the blind-side flank to second-row with young lock, Grant Gilchrist, ruled out with a shoulder injury.

The gap in the back-row is filled by Stuart McInally, who starts at number eight, while David Denton returns to the blind-side flank position he has operated alongside McInally for most of this season.

The club's all-international front-row of Allan Jacobsen, Ross Ford and Geoff Cross takes to the pitch once more following an impressive set-piece and open-play display against Aironi last weekend, while the capital club's back-line – which produced six of the seven tries scored in the 50-10 win – is unchanged.

“It was good for our confidence to run in a few scores against Aironi and see the training moves come together in the match,” said Edinburgh Rugby centre James King.

“We'll certainly take some self-belief from that though we know it'll be another big step up this weekend.”

The teams:

Cardiff Blues: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Chris Czekaj, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Xavier Rush, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Michael Paterson, 5 Paul Tito, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Tau Filise, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Tyrrell, 17 John Yapp, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Maama Molitika, 20 Josh Navidi, 21 Richie Rees, 22 Ceri Sweeney, 23 Gavin Evans.

Edinburgh: 15 Chris Paterson, 14 Lee Jones, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 James King, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Harry Leonard, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Stuart McInally, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 David Denton, 5 Esteban Lozada, 4 Sean Cox, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16 Steve Lawrie, 17 Kyle Traynor, 18 Jack Gilding, 19 Steve Turnbull, 20 Ross Rennie, 21 Mike Blair, 22 John Houston, 23 Tom Brown.

Date: Friday, December 9
Venue: Cardiff City Stadium
Kick-off: 20:00 GMT
Referee: Wayne Barnes