Preview: Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues

Date published: May 6 2016

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There are four changes to the Edinburgh starting XV following last week's tough encounter against Munster in Cork.

In one change to the backs, Dougie Fife moves up from the bench to start at full-back in place of teenager Blair Kinghorn who sustained a knock in last Friday's defeat.

Damien Hoyland and Tom Brown – now fully recovered from the stomach bug that necessitated his substitution last time out – retain their places on the wings with Matt Scott and Andries Strauss continuing their centre partnership. The latter will be running out for his 50th Edinburgh cap since joining the club in 2013.

Fly-half Jason Tovey, who scored 16 of the club's 19 points last time out, and scrum-half Sean Kennedy maintain their half-back pairing.

The pack sees three changes, kicking off with Rory Sutherland moving up from the bench to replace the injured Alasdair Dickinson in the front row, where Ross Ford and WP Nel retain the number two and three jerseys.

The lock combination of Anton Bresler and Ben Toolis is retained while Nasi Manu returns from injury at blindside and Hamish Watson comes in at openside. Cornell Du Preez retains his place at number eight.

Reflecting on his time with the club, 50th cap Strauss says: "It's been a huge honour and privilege to play for Edinburgh Rugby over the last couple of years and to play my 50th game in what would be my last is extremely special and certainly something I'll remember for a long time.

"I'm grateful for every second I was allowed on the field and will cherish the memories I made with the team. This weekend is a vital game for us and one that could determine the success of our entire season.

"Cardiff have been playing  some good rugby lately and they have improved as the season progressed. It will take a massive team effort from us to get the right result on the weekend.

"They are a very good attacking side and will test our resolve and willingness to work hard for each other, therefore it's absolutely crucial that we stick to our systems.”

Edinburgh could still mathematically make Champions Cup qualification but would need a maximum point win and even then would depend upon other results going their way.

Meanwhile, Lloyd Williams and Tom James both return to the Cardiff Blues starting line-up as Danny Wilson changes three for Edinburgh. 

The Wales duo missed last weekend's PRO12 defeat to the Ospreys, with Williams sidelined due to injury and James following the birth of his first child. 

But they both come straight back into the starting XV for the season finale and they are joined by Cam Dolan, who comes in for injured Sam Warburton. As a result Josh Turnbull moves into the back-row, where he packs down with Ellis Jenkins and Josh Navidi.

The defeat to the Ospreys at the Principality Stadium brought an end to a four-match winning streak and ended the Blues' hopes of a top six finish. 

But Wilson has urged his side to finish the campaign on a high at Murrayfield.

He said: "It's disappointing that after two good derby wins (Scarlets and Dragons) we lost the third. 

"If you pick highs and lows from the season, the highs would be winning four derbies, the lows losing twice to the Ospreys. 

"There's plenty of good and we have put down a platform for next season but we certainly don't want to go to Edinburgh and lose.

"We have had 10 wins this year versus five last season, we would like that to be 11 against Edinburgh to finish the season with a win and go into the next on a good run.”

Form: The Scotsmen have lost their last two PRO12 matches in Ireland, to Leinster and Munster, but have lost just once at Murrayfield in any tournament since November. Cardiff Blues four game winning run ended with their "Judgement Day" defeat to Ospreys. The Blues only defeat in their last six fixtures with Edinburgh was 13-28 in this equivalent fixture at Murrayfield in round 8 last season.

The teams:

Edinburgh: 15 Dougie Fife, 14 Damien Hoyland, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Tom Brown, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Sean Kennedy, 8 Cornell du Preez, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Nasi Manu, 5 Ben Toolis, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ross Ford (c) 1 Rory Sutherland
Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally 17 Allan Dell, 18 John Andress, 19 Alex Toolis, 20 Magnus Bradbury, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Chris Dean, 23 Will Helu

Cardiff Blues: 15 Dan Fish, 14 Aled Summerhill, 13 Garyn Smith, 12 Rey Lee-Lo, 11 Tom James, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Josh Navidi, 7 Ellis Jenkins, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 James Down, 4 Cam Dolan, 3 Taufa'ao Filise, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Gethin Jenkins (c)
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Brad Thyer, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Lou Reed, 20 Macauley Cook, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Jarrod Evans, 23 Gavin Evans

Date: Saturday, May 7
Kick-off: 15:00 BST (14:00 GMT)
Venue: Murrayfield
Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Mike Adamson (Scotland), Keith Allan (Scotland)
TMO: Charles Samson (Scotland)

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