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Cardiff Blues

Cardiff Blues

Preview: Cardiff Blues v Edinburgh

06th September 2012 11:29

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Edinburgh Geoff Cross

Season start: Geoff Cross

Edinburgh coach Michael Bradley has made four changes to his XV for their RaboDirect PRO12 fixture against Cardiff Blues at Arms Park on Friday.

The changes see Scotland props Allan Jacobsen and Geoff Cross start the match in place of John Yapp and WP Nel and Roddy Grant replace the rested Ross Rennie on the openside flank.

Centre John Houston is the only change to backs and comes in for the injured Ben Atiga, who aggravated a hip strain in the Munster match.

The bench sees Fiji captain Netani Talei return from a hamstring strain and Sep Visser take the place on the bench vacated by Houston.

"This match presents a big challenge for us as Cardiff will be making a big play of being back at the Arms Park," said Bradley.

"The players and fans will be very excited, and possibly a bit anxious, to get a home win at the old ground."

Meanwhile, Cardiff Blues' homecoming match at the Arms Park following their away victory over Connacht sees Phil Davies select a side that sees the return of internationals Leigh Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert, Sam Warburton and Bradley Davies.

"I've watched Edinburgh and they are a very committed side who like to play an expansive style of rugby and are very competitive throughout all areas of the game," said Davies.

"They come off the back of a successful season last year which saw them reach the semi final of the Heineken Cup.

"Therefore their confidence will be high.

"They have some outstanding players in their ranks with the likes of Visser, Denton and Laidlaw and of course they have recruited ex Blues players Richie Rees and John Yapp.

"We expect a pretty dogged performance off them but also an expansive style which we ourselves are endeavouring to produce.

"It is fantastic to be back at the Arms Park and Peter Thomas along with Richard Holland deserve massive credit for making this happen.

"The staff at the Arms Park have done a magnificent job since we have been back and hopefully you will all see and appreciate all the work that has been undertaken during the summer."

Form: Cardiff Blues began the new season of RaboDirect PRO12 action with a 13-9 victory in Connacht. The Blues won both matches they played at the Arms Park last season, against Connacht and Ulster. Cardiff Blues won their opening two encounters last season. Edinburgh Rugby gained a losing bonus point in their reversal to Munster at Murrayfield last Saturday, and have won just one of their last five matches in all competitions. The Scotsmen's only away win in their last 19 trips in the PRO12 was at Treviso last November. Edinburgh Rugby have not won in Wales since a visit to Scarlets on 4 December 2009. The Blues have won their last four games against Edinburgh Rugby in the RaboDirect PRO12, whilst Edinburgh have been victorious on four of their last five visits to the Arms Park.

The teams:

Cardiff Blues: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Gavin Evans, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Tom James, 10 Ceri Sweeney, 9 Lewis Jones, 8 Andries Pretorius (capt), 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Josh Navidi, 5 James Down, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Benoit Bourrust, 2 Rhys Williams, 1 Taufa'ao Filise.
Replacements: 16 Marc Breeze, 17 Nathan Trevett, 18 Thomas Davies, 19 Lou Reed, 20 Luke Hamilton, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Thomas Williams.

Edinburgh: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Lee Jones, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 John Houston, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Greig Laidlaw (capt), 9 Richie Rees, 8 Stuart McInally, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 David Denton, 5 Sean Cox, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16 Andy Titterrell, 17 John Yapp, 18 Willem Nel, 19 Perry Parker, 20 Netani Talei, 21 Chris Leck, 22 Gregor Hunter, 23 Sep Visser.

Date: Friday, September 7
Kick-off: 19:05 BST
Venue: Cardiff Arms Park
Referee: David Wilkinson (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Sean Brickell (Wales), Jason Langdon (Wales)
Television match official: Neil Ballard (Wales)

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