Dougie Fife is back in the Edinburgh side for a league game for the first time in a year but Edinburgh head south for their Guinness PRO14 season opener at Cardiff without a clutch of their top stars.
Jason Harries and Daryl Marfo will make their Edinburgh debuts at wing and prop respectively but there’s no Robbie Fruean, Phil Burleigh or Hamish Watson in the 23 players who will start the new era under Richard Cockerill at the Arms Park.
Cockerill has however recalled Fife, who was a Scotland player just three seasons ago but let go at the end of the 2015-16 season and kept his hand in mostly with the Scotland 7s team on the World Series circuit during last season.
Given the transformation the former Leicester and England hooker is charged with making at Edinburgh, it’s a pretty familiar looking lineup for Edinburgh fans.
“I’m optimistic,” said the head coach. “The boys have had a good pre-season, but I’m sure everyone is saying the same in that regard. We’ve had a couple of good weeks, we just need to make sure we go and we put our best game out on the field.
“Cardiff are a dangerous side, both from their drive in the forward pack and the fact they like to play an unstructured game. They’ve got players that can punish you if you’re inaccurate.
“We’ve prepared well, but we just don’t know what to expect until we get into the live scenario. We’re going there to win, that’s our mentality and so it should be. We’re looking forward to it.”
Cockerill is doing his best to dampen any unrealistic expectations of how Edinburgh will go, as he aims to introduce international players back into the side gradually.
“It’s my first experience of Cardiff and we’ve not won there for the last four years so it’s going to be a challenge for us. We’ve got to have a tough mind-set and it’s important that we get off to a good start and bring some points back.
“We’ve got internationals that are coming back in and available and we’ve got guys that have done 11 or 12 weeks of pre-season.
“We’ve picked a team which we feel is the right squad, because of the dynamics of bringing international guys back in – some will feature, some won’t. It’s a long season so in the here and now we’ve picked what I think is the best side to go to Cardiff and win.”
It’s a team that still includes eight Scotland internationals in the starting 15 and a further three on the bench.
Edinburgh team (vs Cardiff Blues, Cardiff Arms Park, tonight ko 7.35pm live on BBC Alba): Blair Kinghorn; Dougie Fife, Chris Dean, Junior Rasolea, Jason Harries; Duncan Weir, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne; Darryl Marfo, Stuart McInally, WP Nel; Anton Bresler, Grant Gilchrist; Jamie Ritchie, John Hardie, Magnus Bradbury (captain).
Replacements: Ross Ford, Michele Rizzo, Simon Berghan, Ben Toolis, Cornell du Preez, Nathan Fowles, Jason Tovey, Glenn Bryce.