Edinburgh eye maiden win
December 17, 2010
Edinburgh's Roddy Grant is snared by the Castres defence © Getty Images
Edinburgh open the doors of Murrayfield to Castres on Saturday in the latest round of Heineken Cup action, with the French side eyeing a vital away win and further inroads into Northampton's lead at the top of Pool 1.
The Scottish side have endured three near-misses so far this season and were made to rue the second-half sin-binning of lock Fraser McKenzie in last weekend's 21-16 defeat - they shipped two tries while he kicked his heels on the touchline.
Castres are now handily placed behind Northampton, with three points separating them from the Saints and a four-point cushion over Cardiff Blues in third.
Edinburgh - Player to Watch: Flying winger Tim Visser returns after illness to add his try-scoring touch to the backline, replacing Jim Thompson.
Edinburgh - Team News: Nick de Luca is fit for a place on the bench for the first time this season after a groin problem. In the pack, McKenzie has been ruled out with a back strain, meaning a start for Craig Hamilton, and Stuart McInally makes his Heineken Cup bow at No.8.
Castres - Player to Watch: Seremaia Bai returns in midfield after his autumn exploits with Fiji - he'll bring his usual mix of flair and control to the inside-centre berth.
Castres - Team News: Goal-kicking fullback Romain Teulet is out due to injury, meaning a start for Florian Denos. Former All Black Chris Masoe starts at No.8 in a side boasting 14 changes from last weekend.
Key Battle: Castres may not travel too well but they do promise plenty of grit. If Edinburgh can match them in the tight exchanges then they have the firepower to do some damage in the backs.
Trivia: Edinburgh remain the only Scottish side to have progressed to the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup, making the last eight in the 2003-04 season.
Stats: Edinburgh's round two loss to Northampton ended their best home winning run in the Heineken Cup - four matches.
"We haven't been far away in any of our European matches to date, but our ambitions are much higher than picking up losing bonus points. We've got a good record at home in the Heineken Cup over the last couple of years, and we really want to add another win to that sequence." - Edinburgh boss Rob Moffatt plays up their chances.
Prediction: Edinburgh are due a win and with Castres boasting some of the fallibility associated with French sides on their travels they should nick a close one this weekend.
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