The most tann-ed one Gavin Henson could be in with a shout to line up against Edinburgh at Murrayfield on Friday, despite persistent injury niggles that have kept him out of the Blues line-up since signing for the region earlier in the year. His main problem has been his hand but that has apparently healed, leaving him with only a heal to recover. No bother, it’s only Edinburgh eh?
Lining up to face him and Dan Parks – who the Cardiff coaching team were forced to defend this week after local fans grumbled when he, um, kicked them to victory – Edinburgh have picked, well, a squad. There will probably be an actual team announcement later in the week, but for now how about some speculation?
Youngster Harry Leonard was pulled at half time last week when he seemed unable to cope with the flying defence of Cardiff, so will he be given the nod when the Blues are unlikely to alter a successful plan much? The alternatives are Phil Godman and Greig Laidlaw, who probably had his first sputter of the season when he was unable to spark another famous comeback. I’d go with Laidlaw who has looked the most accomplished but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Godman on the bench in place of Leonard. harsh, but Bradley may not want to take chances. Of course you could argue that Godman’s lack of game time is in itself a chance but he has slotted in nicely off the bench so far. Even if he does love throwing the sort of pass that Cardiff’s centres would eat up.
Certain sections pick themselves (front row, wings) and I suspect Talei will be brought in to combat a bit of Cardiff’s southern-hemisphere ballast. Denton has had some great performances and should be given a run at 8 where he can make the most impact and where (whisper it) options could be seen as thin for Scotland currently. Roddy Grant has probably been the better – certainly the most tireless – of the proper 7s thus far but Rennie will almost certainly make the bench, where we will need plenty of youth and zip as those old blue heads tire running about on the big pitch. Here is who I would pick:
My Edinburgh XV to face Cardiff: Paterson, Visser, De Luca, Scott, Jones, Laidlaw (c), Blair, Denton, Grant, Talei, Cox, Lozada, Cross, Ford, Jacobsen
Potential Bench: Traynor, Lawrie, Gilding, Gilchrist, Rennie/McInally, Godman, James King, Thompson/Brown
Thoughts, anyone? Cardiff got a bonus point last time they came to Murrayfield, but hopefully the new trackside fans will be so intimidating that they will come unstuck and Edinburgh can get their European season back on track.
Murrayfield, Friday, k.o. 8pm
26 Man Squad: Mike Blair, Tom Brown, Sean Cox, Geoff Cross, Nick De Luca, David Denton, Ross Ford, Grant Gilchrist, Jack Gilding, Phil Godman, Roddy Grant, Allan Jacobsen, Lee Jones, James King, Greig Laidlaw CAPTAIN, Steven Lawrie, Harry Leonard, Esteban Lozada, Stuart McInally, Chris Paterson, Ross Rennie, Matt Scott, Netani Talei, Jim Thompson, Kyle Traynor, Tim Visser
The match is on Sky Sports via red button, plus highlights on S4C (in Welsh) at 10pm.
Congratulations also to the winner of our Dove Men+Care competition to win 6 tickets to the game: Louise Forsyth. Enoy the game!