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Preview: Connacht v Edinburgh

23rd February 2012 12:33

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SKY_MOBILE Michael Bradley - Edinbugh coach - 14/12/11

Michael Bradley: Returning to familiar territory

Michael Bradley on Friday returns to the Sportsground - where he spent seven years - for the first time as Edinburgh boss when his troops face Connacht in a RaboDirect PRO12 clash.

Bradley enjoyed a successful spell as director of rugby at the Irish outfit before going on to join Edinburgh in May of last year.

The 49-year-old concedes that he has mixed feelings returning to the Galway club.

"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," he told Edinburgh's official website.

"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."

Bradley has made four changes to the team that lost to Dragons last weekend.

Among the backs, full-back Chris Paterson, centre Jim Thompson and fly-half Gregor Hunter come into the starting line-up at the expense of Sep Visser, the injured John Houston and Phil Godman.

There is just one change in the pack, with Andrew Kelly replacing Alun Walker at hooker.

Connacht chief Eric Elwood has made two alterations to his team for the encounter.

The 22-year-old prop Denis Buckley is handed his first competitive start as a result of Brett Wilkinson's involvement with the national side.

At scrum-half, Frank Murphy has recovered from a groin injury suffered in early January and he replaces Paul O'Donohoe who drops to the bench.

Edinburgh: 15 Chris Paterson, 14 Tom Brown, 13 Jim Thompson, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Gregor Hunter, 9 Chris Leck, 8 Netani Talei, 7 Roddy Grant (capt), 6 Stuart McInally, 5 Sean Cox, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Jack Gilding, 2 Andrew Kelly, 1 Kyle Traynor.
Replacements: 16 Alun Walker, 17 Mike MacDonald, 18 Ulises Gamboa, 19 Esteban Lozada, 20 Hamish Watson, 21 Alex Black, 22 Phil Godman, 23 Dougie Fife.

Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy (capt), 14 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 13 Kyle Tonetti, 12 Henry Fa'afili, 11 Tiernan O'Halloran, 10 Niall O'Connor, 9 Frank Murphy, 8 George Naoupu, 7 Eoghan Grace, 6 John Muldoon, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Michael Swift, 3 Ronan Loughney, 2 Adrian Flavin, 1 Denis Buckley.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Dylan Rogers/Brett Wilkinson, 18 Stewart Maguire, 19 Mick Kearney, 20 Ray Ofisa, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Matthew Jarvis, 23 Eoin Griffin.

Date: Friday, February 24
Kick-off: 19:30 GMT
Venue: The Sportsground
Referee: Carlo Damasco
Assistant Referees: Mark Patton, Stuart Gaffikin

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Edinburgh 25 - 17 LOU Rugby
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6Leinster616
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8Edinburgh611
9Dragons67
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