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Bradley: We can regain cup if we cut out lapses

ALMOST a week after seeing his team lose in the first of the inter-city derbies, Michael Bradley is still seething over the defensive lapses that gave Glasgow a flying start.

The good part, he says, is that if his players can cut out those mistakes, they have proved they can do enough to gain revenge, possibly by the 10 points they need to recapture the 1872 Cup.

"We need a good start, we need to get the tempo up and keep it there, move the ball, move our opponents, create space and punish any vacancies," he said. "The challenge will be to do that against one of the most shrewd and stingy defences in the division, and one that has added an extra level of attacking nous to their armoury, which we saw in full flow last weekend, in part thanks to those defensive lapses on our part."

This time, back on their home patch at Murrayfield, Bradley is demanding that there is no repeat of the slow start that handed Glasgow a 17-0 lead just before half-time – in those circumstances winning the last 50 minutes 14-6 was no comfort, the team had already given themselves too much to do.

Like Glasgow, Bradley has made several changes to his team; unlike his opposition, he had little choice over most of them. Stuart McInally is rested under the playing protocol agreed for the players this season, which demands that they sit out a game after playing five in a row, so Netani Talei comes in to the starting line-up, which will enhance the ball carrying though pos-sibly at the expense of McInally's workrate.

Elsewhere in the pack, Ross Ford, Izak van der West-huizen, and John Yapp are all injured while Willem Nel is doubtful and is not being risked in the starting side, though he may take a slot on the bench if he comes through a fitness test.

Despite four of last week's front five being unavailable, Edinburgh are still fielding an all-international front row, while the second row switch allows Sean Cox, the club vice- captain, to regain his place after seeming to add a robust, physical edge when he joined the battle at Scotstoun.

"We know we let our fans down at the start of the game but we also know that we performed well under pressure for a lot of that game, and if we can perform well without conceding points early then it should be a positive day for us," reckoned Bradley. "The pressure is there for the team to win, and if we'd won last week, we'd be having a different conversation now.

"The route to winning is still the same; we need to do the basics right and, when we create opportunities, we need to take them. We should have scored first in that game but Glasgow were sharper in put-ting their chances away, so we have to be mindful of that."

In the only change in the backs, Lee Jones drops out of the wing position after damaging ribs, with Dougie Fife taking over. That means Greig Laidlaw, the Scotland fly-half, gets his second start at scrum- half after an impressive performance there last week. This time, however, Bradley made it clear he hopes be able to shift the player during the game.

"Needless to say that a match up between the nation's two professional clubs, which are packed with the country's leading international players, carries a lot of significance to Scottish fans. You can feel and feed off the passion coming through all the players.

"It will be another ferocious contest and the support of our home fans will be vital to our efforts, as we go all out from start to finish," he added.

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