Cardiff Blues v Edinburgh, Millennium Stadium
Blues entertain unbeaten Edinburgh
December 8, 2011
Tim Visser scored a late try to sink Racing Metro at Murrayfield © Getty Images
Edinburgh travel to Cardiff on Friday night hoping to maintain their place at the top of Pool Two after a thrilling start to their Heineken Cup campaign.
Both sides are unbeaten two games into their campaigns with victories over Racing Metro and London Irish. Edingburgh twice came from behind to snatch victories with a one-point winning margin. First a second-half comeback accounted for London Irish and then Michael Bradley's men came from 44-20 down to defeat Racing 48-47 in a thriller at Murrayfield.
Meanwhile Cardiff have recorded an impressive 26-20 victory over Racing Metro in France on the opening day which they followed up with a 24-28 win over London Irish at home. Cardiff have won the last five meetings with Edinburgh and the fixture is the first of back-to-back Pool clashes between the PRO12 rivals.
Edinburgh - Player to Watch: Tim Visser's two tries against Racing Metro will not have been missed by Andy Robinson with the speedy winger set to qualify for Scotland next June.
Edinburgh - Team News: Bradley makes one change with Sean Cox moving from blind-side flanker to second-row and young lock Grant Gilchrist dropping out due to a shoulder injury. Therefore Stuart McInally starts at No.8 while David Denton returns to blind-side.
Cardiff - Player to Watch: Alex Cuthbert made his Wales debut against Australia last weekend at the age of just 21 and the Blues winger should have a big future given his 6ft 6" frame and electric pace.
Cardiff - Team News: In the backs Casey Laulala is the sole survivor from the side that lost to Leinster in the PRO12 last Friday. Wales internationals Leigh Halfpenny, Jamie Roberts, Alex Cuthbert and Lloyd Williams are among those included. In the forwards there are a further five changes with Xavier Rush, Paul Tito and Fau Filise the only ones retaining their places.
Key Battle: Edinburgh scrum-half and skipper, Greig Laidlaw, has been on fire in the Heineken Cup this season and has already racked up a total of 28 points. But he'll come up against young Lloyd Williams, who looks in prime position to challenge Mike Phillips for the Wales No.9 jersey.
Trivia: Edinbugh have not reached the knock-out stages since 2004 - their only appearance in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals in 15 seasons.
Stats: Edinburgh are the top scorers in this season's Heineken Cup so far with 68 points from their opening two games while they have the fourth worst defensive record of the 16 teams, having conceded 66 points.
"Cardiff away will be a significant challenge indeed and is a match that will demand our utmost attention to every aspect of our game." - Edinburgh coach Michael Bradley
"We do have a good record against Edinburgh recently but it counts for nothing at all now. It is all about current form and they are a fantastic side." - Cardiff forwards coach orwards coach Justin Burnell
Prediction: Cardiff Blues to continue their dominance over their PRO12 rivals by edging a flowing encounter in Cardiff.
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