Preview | Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues

Preview | Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues

What’s at stake?

Edinburgh bounced back from Round 14 defeat away to Southern Kings by beating Dragons 34-17 last weekend, and will hope victory this time around will help them pull clear of third-placed Benetton.

The visiting Blues, by contrast, were on the wrong end of a thrilling encounter against Glasgow Warriors last weekend, but are still firmly in the hunt for a place in the Guinness PRO14 Final Series.

The Welsh province are just four points behind Connacht in third, heading into the 7.35pm kick-off at BT Murrayfield.

Team news (Edinburgh)

Scotland international winger, Damien Hoyland, will make his long-awaited return from injury as Edinburgh look to continue their unbeaten home record in all competitions this season.

Hoyland is joined in the back three by the in-form Duhan van der Merwe and recent Scotland call-up Dougie Fife, who has been released by the national squad to start at full-back.

The capital side also welcome back Mark Bennett who is named amongst the replacements – the centre has been sidelined due to injury since the game against Ulster at the Kingspan Stadium in September last year.

Team news (Cardiff Blues)

Promising loosehead prop Rhys Carré will make his first Guinness PRO14 start as Cardiff Blues travel to the Scottish capital.

Carré is one of five changes made by the Welsh region, with head coach John Mulvihill restructuring his pack for the trip to BT Murrayfield.

Hooker Liam Belcher also makes his first Guinness PRO14 start, with No.8 Nick Williams taking over the captaincy duties in the absence of Kristian Dacey.

Talking points

Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill: "We’re missing a few more bodies this week due to international call-ups, but we have a strong desire to win and the capability to do so.

“These games are all important in the run towards the play-offs, so I’m expecting the boys to leave everything out there in order to get the right result.”

Cardiff Blues head coach: “Richard Cockerill will have them primed as a very physical team, and that’s in his DNA.

“It would be nice to win on the road before facing the Kings at home. Those games will set us up nicely before we play a run of Scarlets, Munster, Connacht and Ospreys.

“We’re still in the mix with a few games to go, but we know that we’re in a really strong conference.”

Key battle

Dougie Fife v Matthew Morgan

The returning Fife will no doubt be keen to prove that Scotland were wrong to discard him from their latest Guinness Six Nations squad, but will have his work cut out against the dangerous Morgan, who has thrilled with his direct running and trickery this season.

His Champions Cup solo effort against Saracens was one of the tries of the season so far, and shows what a threat the 26-year-old can be in broken play.

Key fact:

Edinburgh's only defeat in their last nine matches in all competitions was to Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth in January.

Did you know?

Cardiff Blues have not beaten a Scottish opponent in the Guinness PRO14 since downing Edinburgh by the narrowest of margins in February 2017

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