EDINBURGH RUGBY head coach Richard Cockerill has made only one change to his starting line-up that will face Cardiff Blues in at Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday.

South African-born hooker Mike Willemse comes into the team to make his first competitive start for Edinburgh after joining the capital club from Southern Kings in the summer, with the 26-year-old replacing the injured Dave Cherry.

Willemse gained five caps for the Springboks at under-20 level and Edinburgh assistant forwards coach, Stevie Lawrie, is confident the new recruit will be a valuable asset against Cardiff, as well as throughout the season.

“He’s very much a power hooker,” Lawrie said of Willemse.

“He’s in the mould of Stuart McInally and Ross Ford – he’s strong, he’s a good ball carrier and he’s very good over ball. He’s a big plus for us in terms of our defensive systems and he’s solid at set pieces.

“But what Mike also brings is good leadership. He’s led the Kings previously and he speaks very well to the group and leads by example which is excellent.”

Edinburgh won their opening Guinness Pro 14 match of the season with a comfortable defeat of Zebre at Murrayfield last Saturday and with minimal changes to the starting line-up this week, Lawrie is confident the players can keep their momentum going.

“They’ve been mandated with the task of going out there and doing similar again this week,” he said.

“We started in the manner we wanted last week and now we’re looking to continue that on.”

Edinburgh’s squad remains depleted with players on World Cup duty whilst Cardiff have been hit less drastically by absentees. With this in mind, Lawrie is aware of how tough a task a victory will be but he remains confident his players can make it two wins from two.

“Cardiff are very strong. You look at their side and it’s dripping with quality so it’ll be a big challenge for us,” he said. “But we believe in how we’ve prepared and we believe we can go there and win.”