Tonks hits 50 as Edinburgh aim for 100% in Europe

As Edinburgh strive for four wins from four in Europe this Sunday, Greig Tonks will be running out for his 50th cap for the club.


 
There are seven changes to the starting XV that beat London Welsh in the opening double-header, at BT Murrayfield last Sunday. Jack Cuthbert comes in at full back with Dougie Fife, a late injury withdrawal last weekend, returning on the right wing.
 
A changed half-back pairing sees Greig Tonks at stand-off and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne in the scrum half berth.
 
Meanwhile in the pack, with Ross Ford still out, Neil Cochrane gets a start at hooker, while John Andress and Anton Bresler move up from the bench to start at tighthead and lock respectively.
 
One of Edinburgh's first signings for 2012/13, Tonks moved to the club from Northampton Saints. He started all but two matches in that debut campaign and ended the season with a first international cap, against Samoa, in the 2013 summer tour.
 
Speaking ahead of hitting his half-century for the capital club, Tonks said: "I've really enjoyed my time at Edinburgh, it's a great feeling to have reached 50 games and I'm looking forward to many more.”
 
The first of those for Tonks and his team mates, of course, is Sunday's match against London Welsh at the Kassam Stadium, the fourth of six European Cup pool matches, and he's more than up for the challenge. 

"As we played them last week, the match is fresh in our minds which is an advantage in terms of analysing their game – though, of course, they've been able to do that with us this week, too!” 

Edinburgh have posted three wins – at home against Lyon and London Welsh and away against Bordeaux-Begles – in the Cup competition and currently sit top of their pool. Posting another win this weekend would not only cement their spot but help the club towards a place in the knockout round.
 
Head coach Alan Solomons said: "Tonksy getting his 50th cap is a real feature of this game. We would all like to make the match a memorable one for him and, at the same time, keep alive our aspirations in Europe.”
 
Edinburgh Rugby v London Welsh, Sunday 14 December, Kassam Stadium, k/o 2.30pm
15              Jack CUTHBERT
14              Dougie FIFE
13              Matt SCOTT
12              Andries STRAUSS
11              Tim VISSER
10              Greig TONKS
9                Sam HIDALGO-CLYNE
 
1                Rory SUTHERLAND
2                Neil COCHRANE
3                John ANDRESS
4                Anton BRESLER
5                Ben TOOLIS
6                Tomas LEONARDI
7                Roddy GRANT
8                Mike COMAN (Captain)
 
Substitutes
16              James HILTERBRAND
17              Grant SHIELLS
18              Willem NEL
19              Fraser McKENZIE
20              Stuart McINALLY
21              Grayson HART
22              Tom HEATHCOTE
23              Sam BEARD
 
Injury update
Players currently on the injured list are: Carl Bezuidenhout (knee), Wicus Blaauw (knee), Phil Burleigh (knee), Allan Dell (leg), David Denton (shoulder), Alasdair Dickinson (Achilles), Cornell Du Preez (leg), Jamie Farndale (knee), Ross Ford (back), Hugh Fraser (knee), Grant Gilchrist (arm), Brett Thompson (shoulder) and Hamish Watson (jaw).
 
Hugh Blake and Jade Te Rure
Flanker Hugh Blake and stand-off Jade Te Rure will be training with Edinburgh Rugby, on a trial period of three to four months, as of this week.

Blake (22), kicked off his rugby career aged 11 for Pirongia RC in Waikato, played through the age grades, and onto the IRB Junior World Cup in South Africa. With Otago since 2011, he was also part of the Highlanders squad in 2013. Both his grandparents are Scottish – one from Glasgow and one from Edinburgh – and he still has family in the city.

Te Rure (21) who began playing as a five-year-old and graduated through New Zealand age grade sides – latterly playing at under-20 level in the IRB Junior World Cup in France – joins from ITM Cup action with Manawatu. Scottish-qualified, through his Edinburgh-born grandmother, has played in the capital before as part of a touring under-18 side.

Head coach Alan Solomons said: "Hugh is a promising young openside flanker who already has experience of Super Rugby. We're pleased to have him here and I have no doubt that he will give a good account of himself.

"Jade played an integral part in Manawatu's recent ITM Cup success. He's a talented player and a good goal kicker and I look forward to seeing him in action.”
 
Hugh Blake
Born: 10 September 1992 in Tauranga, New Zealand
Height: 1.87m
Weight: 102kg

Jade Te Rure
Born: 18 June 1993 in Palmerston North, New Zealand
Height: 1.80m
Weight: 85kg