Edinburgh will be seeking back-to-back home Magners League victories when they host Aironi at Murrayfield for the very first time.
Edinburgh will be seeking back-to-back home Magners League victories for the first time since last November when they host Aironi at Murrayfield for the very first time.
The capital club produced a stirring display to see off Ospreys 23-16 in their last assignment and with a further Murrayfield clash to come next week against Dragons, have the opportunity to further improve their seasonal home record.
Aironi have shown steady improvement throughout their debut campaign, and pushed Edinburgh all the way when the sides last clashed in Lombardy last October. It took a last minute try from Allan Jacobsen, and a subsequent David Blair conversion, to edge the Scots to a single-point win.
Interim head coach Nick Scrivener has prepared his troops for a similarly tough battle come the weekend.
“Aironi are a direct sort of side who have the players and the systems to really hurt you if you let them play their own game,” he said.
“Our aim has to be to control possession and play the match on our terms. We know from the game in Italy that we'll be up against a tenacious outfit who will fight to the very last, and I'll be looking for the same sort of desire, impetus and execution from our guys that we saw against Ospreys.
“We carried well that night and our work at the breakdown was good, and the net result was that we didn't have to do as much defending. When you're on the back foot for significant periods, you're much more likely to give away penalties or be opened up, and it all comes back to possession.
“If we look after the ball and play on the front foot, as well as tightening up the defence after some of the mistakes we made in Connacht, we'll put ourselves in a position to claim another positive home result.”
The Edinburgh starting line-up for Friday's match bears two changes from Galway. Roddy Grant, absent from the side of late after suffering a knee injury, returns at openside flanker at the expense of Scott Newlands.
Ben Cairns, who missed the trip to west Ireland because of a knee knock of his own, displaces Nick De Luca at outside centre on the back of a commanding performance against Ospreys.
On the bench, Edinburgh are bolstered by the presence of Stuart McInally, who has recovered from the hand injury he sustained in February, and the evergreen Chris Paterson.
“It was right and proper that Mossy [Paterson] had the chance to recharge his batteries after the Six Nations Championship, but he was always going to be involved in our last three games and it's great to have him back,” explained Scrivener.
“I'm delighted to also be naming Stuart. He's a guy we have high hopes for, and even though the timing of his injury was unfortunate, there's still time for him this season to bring his influence to bear.”
Form:Edinburgh have gained just one victory in any competition since 2 January: 23-16 at home to Ospreys on 26 March. Edinburgh have won both their previous encounters against Italian opponents. This game is Aironi's last chance to record an away victory this season, having picked up just three losing bonus points on the road so far. Edinburgh won 10-9 when the two sides clashed in round five, thanks to an Allan Jacobsen try converted by David Blair with just four minutes left on the clock.
Edinburgh: 15 Jim Thompson, 14 Simon Webster, 13 Ben Cairns, 12 James King, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Greig Laidlaw, 9 Mike Blair, 8 David Denton, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 Fraser McKenzie, 5 Esteban Lozada, 4 Scott MacLeod, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Andrew Kelly (c), 1 Kyle Traynor.
Replacements: 16 Alun Walker, 17 Lewis Niven, 18 David Young, 19 Steven Turnbull, 20 Stuart McInally, 21 Nick De Luca, 22 Lee Jones, 23 Chris Paterson.
Aironi: 15 Giulio Rubini, 14 Kaine Robertson, 13 Gilberto Pavan, 12 Matteo Pratichetti, 11 Danwel Demas, 10 James Marshall, 9 Pablo Canavosio, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Gareth Krause, 6 Nicola Cattina, 5 Quintin Geldenhuys (cap), 4 Marco Bortolami, 3 Ulyses Gamboa, 2 Fabio Onagro, 1 Salvatore Perugini.
Replacements: 16 Luigi Ferraro, 17 Alberto De Marchi, 18 Fabio Staibano, 19 George Biagi, 20 Jaco Erasmus, 21 Tito Tebaldi, 22 Gabriel Pizarro, 23 Riccardo Bocchino.
Date: Friday, April 15
Kick-off: 19.05 BST
Referee: John Lacey (IRFU)