EDINBURGH have shown considerable promise this season, playing an entertaining brand of rugby that has kept them in contention in both the URC and the Challenge Cup.

The question over the coming weeks - starting in the league against Ulster - is whether they can turn that promise into achievement. 

Their slide from the top of the table to their current position of seventh may suggest that they do not yet have all of the ingredients in place to stand up to their toughest opponents, but there is no doubting their ability to rise to the occasion in one-off matches such as their memorable victory at Saracens back in December. Certainly, head coach Mike Blair appears confident that, in front of what could be the first-ever capacity crowd at the DAM Health Stadium, his squad will be on top of their game.

“It’s been the message through a lot of this season about being in every moment,” he said after naming a team that shows ten changes from the one that began last week’s laboured win over Zebre. “Don’t be a passenger in the game, focus on what your role is in that specific moment and do that to the best of your ability, imagining that it’s the only thing that you’ve got to do in the whole game.

“So we’ve talked about that. I believe we’re going to be really on it. A home game, really good crowd, and lots to play for. I think mentally and physically we’re going to be very much on it.

“The weather forecast is not great - 80 per cent chance of rain - but we’ve had a couple of really good wins in the rain. We beat Saracens in the rain down there and we beat Bulls when there was rain in the second half, so two big, physical teams that we fronted up against.

“There is a style of rugby that I want us to play, but I also want us to be really balanced and understand what it takes to win certain games - where the pressure points are and when you can keep your feet on the throat of the opposition in areas that we can take them on.

“We know that we’ve got to be balanced in the type of game we play, but we still want to be able to light up and play with tempo when opportunities are there.”

After a two-match suspension, Willem Nel is back at tighthead, while Luke Crosbie and Damien Hoyland return from long-term injuries to take their places in the back row and on the right wing respectively. James Lang, Emiliano Boffelli and Ben Vellacott are the other backs who have been restored for this game, while Stuart McInally, captain Grant Gilchrist, Jamie Hodgson and Magnus Bradbury all return to the pack. 

Pierre Schoeman and Hamish Watson are the only forwards who keep their places from last week. In the back division, Jaco van der Walt, Mark Bennett and Blair Kinghorn are the three who hold on to their jerseys.

Lock Marshall Sykes is beginning a three-week suspension after his sending-off last week, although that is expected to be cut to two if he takes a URC coaching awareness course. Eleven other players are listed as unavailable: Luan de Bruin, Darcy Graham, Nick Haining, Henry Immelman, Viliame Mata, Ramiro Moyano, Jamie Ritchie, Ben Toolis, Boan Venter, Angus Williams and Glen Young. 

Graham is almost ready to return from injury, while Young fell in training but should not be out for long. Moyano, meanwhile, is awaiting the prognosis on a bicep injury.

Having picked up a bonus point against Zebre, Edinburgh can finally ensure themselves of a top-eight finish if they win tonight.  However, their principal aim remains a top-four place and the home quarter-final that goes with it - something that remains very much within their grasp as they are only three points off second place at present.

Ulster, just two points better off in fifth place, are in a very similar position. Their last regular-season game is at home to the Sharks, while Edinburgh complete their programme with the return match against Glasgow at BT Murrayfield.