Edinburgh will return to the national stadium to complete their European Challenge Cup pool campaign on the same pitch on which they have already claimed two wins in the competition to stand within one more of reaching the quarter-finals.

Another victory will also ensure they have to decide whether 
to play that knockout tie at BT Murrayfield or what is now their official ground across the city at Myreside, since it will entitle them to a home tie.

They have every reason to feel good about the venue to which the match has been switched because of the damage inflicted on Myreside last weekend, having also recently beaten Glasgow Warriors at Murrayfield, while they beat Friday’s opponents Stade Francais there 
in this tournament last season.

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The match ought to give Edinburgh a clear idea of their prospects since the French club went on to win the Challenge Cup last season, in spite of that defeat and this is the first of a brace of back-to-back meetings between the two sides that come at an important time for individuals as well as the team.

Glasgow Warriors may have won the more recent of the festive Inter-City derbies, but partly because of Edinburgh’s win in the first of them there has been a sense that the balance has swung slightly in terms of the opportunity to impress the Scotland management over the coming fortnight.

Whereas Glasgow are engaged in what are, for them, dead rubbers against Leinster and Exeter Chiefs, releasing some of the pressure, there should be a real edge to Edinburgh’s ties which will only allow players to make more of a case for inclusion in the squad, in turn adding spice to internal competition for places.

That is highlighted at scrum-half where Sam Hidalgo-Clyne has featured most regularly of late, but Nathan Fowles started and did well last weekend having had a first taste of involvement with the national squad in the autumn.

The 24-year-old took a lot from that heightened Murrayfield experience, in particular working with former Scotland captain and scrum-half Mike Blair.

“It was really good, a lot of learning for me. That was the first time I’ve been in that environment,” he said. 

“Obviously to meet the coaching staff and the other players was great and getting to work quite closely with Mike was really helpful. I didn’t get involved in the games in the autumn but just in training and doing the little extras with Mike, there was specific advice he can give me which in day-to-day training I might not get. He’ll watch my game a lot more closely than an attack coach would. He has given me stuff to bring me back to the club and work on to progress my game which I’ve been trying to do these past few weeks. It was very positive for me.”

He consequently sees these meetings with Stade as a chance to demonstrate what he has taken on board and he is hopeful of being part of a big Edinburgh contingent in the Six Nations squad. 

“A lot of lads have been going well for us,” said Fowles. 

“You could see in the Glasgow games there was an extra edge and a lot of head to heads going on. All the lads and coaches know how big those games are towards selection for that Scotland team. I think we’ll get a lot of players in the Six Nations squad like we did in the autumn.

“We’re just embracing every game we play at the moment, week to week trying to get better and get to where we want to be. If we win this week we’ll be in knockout European rugby which is what we want. 

“We want to try and win this competition and in the league we’re going all right. We’ve got some big games against Munster, Leinster. They’re going to be massive for where we want to finish at the end 
of the season, if we want to push for those play-off places and Champions Cup they are must-wins for us and we’re really looking forward to it.”