Edinburgh side named for derby opener
Head Coach Mike Blair today named three changes to the Edinburgh Rugby team to face Glasgow Warriors in tomorrow night’s 1872 Cup first leg at Scotstoun Stadium (Friday 18 March, kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports.
Centre Matt Currie, stand-off Jaco van der Walt and loosehead prop Harrison Courtney come into the side that claimed a bonus-point win against Connacht a fortnight ago, as Blair names a settled starting line-up for Act One of the rescheduled intercity derbies, with the return leg set for a grandstand finish on w/o 21 May at BT Murrayfield.
The capital side will also be able to call on experience from the bench, with Jamie Hodgson, Magnus Bradbury and Ben Vellacott all released from Scotland camp, while tighthead prop Luan de Bruin returns from injury and could make his first appearance since January.
Blair said: “We’ve spoken this week about how important this game is for the club. Firstly, in terms of the 1872 Cup – it’s an opportunity for silverware – but also in terms of the league. It’s incredibly tight between ourselves and Glasgow and we want to keep momentum going heading into the business end of the season.
“We’ve also talked about the emotion of the game. There is a huge amount of history in this fixture, so it’s important our players let that emotion drive them and motivate them. At the same time, we’ve got to stay cool under pressure, as we’ll be playing away from home in front of a really passionate crowd.
“We’ve had a great week of training and preparation and we’re delighted to see some of our younger guys get an opportunity to play in such an important fixture. They’ll be desperate to represent this club and city come Friday night.”
An unchanged back-three sees Henry Immelman continue at full-back, with Argentine internationals Emiliano Boffelli and Ramiro Moyano – both try-scorers in the win over Connacht – selected on opposite wings.
Club centurion Chris Dean – who provided two-try assists in the win over the Irishmen – is paired with academy graduate Currie in midfield, while scrum-half Henry Pyrgos is again named captain in an experienced half-back pairing with fellow Scotland cap Van der Walt.
Up front, vice-captain and hooker Dave Cherry packs down alongside recently re-signed props Courtney and Angus Williams, as an unchanged lock combination of Pierce Phillips and Glen Young complete the tight-five.
Fijian international number 8 Mesulame Kunavula anchors a back-row that sees impressive young flankers Ben Muncaster (20) and Connor Boyle (22) again named on opposite flanks.
Edinburgh Rugby team to face Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun Stadium in the United Rugby Championship
Friday 18 March (kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports
15. Henry Immelman (12)
14. Ramiro Moyano (8)
13. Matt Currie (9)
12. Chris Dean VICE-CAPTAIN (114)
11. Emiliano Boffelli (10)
10. Jaco van der Walt (80)
9. Henry Pyrgos CAPTAIN (62)
1. Harrison Courtney (4)
2. Dave Cherry VICE-CAPTAIN (50)
3. Angus Williams (9)
4. Pierce Phillips (6)
5. Glen Young (6)
6. Ben Muncaster (8)
7. Connor Boyle (16)
8. Mesulame Kunavula (20)
16. Adam McBurney (6)
17. Boan Venter (21)
18. Luan de Bruin (4)
19. Jamie Hodgson (33)
20. Magnus Bradbury (104)
21. Ben Vellacott (13)
22. Charlie Savala (9)
23. Cammy Hutchison (10)
Unavailable due to injury: Rudi Brown, Jamie Campbell, Luke Crosbie, Nick Haining, Damien Hoyland, James Johnstone, James Lang, Viliame Mata, Jamie Ritchie, Marshall Sykes, Ben Toolis
International selection: Mark Bennett, Darcy Graham, Grant Gilchrist, Blair Kinghorn, Stuart McInally, WP Nel, Pierre Schoeman, Hamish Watson