Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill admits his side are into the “knockout” stages as they bid to keep next season’s Champions Cup dream alive.
The capital club trail Scarlets by 10 points in the race for the third and final qualifying spot in the Guinness PRO14’s Conference B.
Scarlets round off their regular season against Connacht on Monday night but, crucially, Edinburgh have two more games to play after they take on fourth-placed Cardiff at the same time.
Qualification remains a huge ask but the mathematics are simple – Edinburgh must win all of their three remaining games, probably with a few bonus points too, to have any chance.
And Cockerill said: “League fixtures at this time of the season start to take on a cup final feeling, with so much on the line for a number of teams. It’s knockout rugby for those in contention for European Champions Cup places.
“We’ve always said we’ll continue to fight hard for league position and we made good on that promise against Connacht in the 83rd minute. We’ll need to show that type of resolve, within an improved performance overall, against a good Cardiff side.
“We’ve a decent record in Wales lately but that will count for little when the whistle goes. I expect you’ll see two very determined sides out there on a quick synthetic track, which should make for a great contest.”
Wing Blair Kinghorn has returned from injury to start Edinburgh’s decisive clash of capitals with the Blues at the Arms Park.
The Scotland cap is one of two changes to the back division where 20-year-old stand-off Charlie Savala will make his debut in place of Nathan Chamberlain, who failed a fitness test on an ankle injury sustained against Connacht last weekend.
Recently recruited loosehead prop Boan Venter and Fijian international back-row Mesu Kunavula are the remaining changes to the XV, replacing the injured Pierre Schoeman and Ally Miller, who was released from the Scotland camp.
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