​New-look Edinburgh side ready for Racing

​New-look Edinburgh side ready for Racing

Head Coach Richard Cockerill today named a new-look Edinburgh Rugby side for this Sunday’s last 16 Heineken Champions Cup match against Racing 92 at the Paris La Defense Arena (kick-off 12.30pm BST) – live on BT Sport.

The starting side features 12 changes, of which seven are Scotland internationalists returning from the recent Guinness Six Nations win over France, while several others have made a timely return to fitness for the knockout encounter against last season’s runners-up.

The pack is bolstered by Scotland front-row forwards David Cherry (hooker) and WP Nel (tighthead prop), lock Grant Gilchrist and back-row forwards Jamie Ritchie and Six Nations player of the tournament nominee Hamish Watson, while the backs feature wings Darcy Graham and Six Nations top try scorer Duhan van der Merwe.

Fit again trio Damien Hoyland (full-back), Pierre Schoeman (prop), and Viliame Mata (number 8) all make a welcome return to fitness to start once more, while centres George Taylor and James Johnstone are brought back into the midfield.

The alterations mean Magnus Bradbury, Blair Kinghorn and Henry Pyrgos are the only three players to be retained in the XV from last weekend’s loss to Dragons, with Bradbury and Kinghorn moving positions to start at second-row and stand-off respectively.

Edinburgh Head Coach, Richard Cockerill, said: “We’re pleased to welcome a number of quality players back into the side for this Sunday’s knockout match against Racing 92.

“Our best is enough to compete with any team and we’ll certainly need to put our best performance out there this Sunday, when we get to have a crack at one of the top teams in Europe. How we deal with that challenge will be the mark of this group.

“We’ve had some great results against some of the big sides in France in the past, however we’re under no illusions how big a challenge this weekend will be.

“It’s the kind of challenge that any competitor would relish and we’ve some quality and very competitive individuals lining up for us this weekend, looking to go out there and do something special for the club.”

Scotland prop Simon Berghan returns to take a place on the bench where fellow front-row forwards Mike Willemse (hooker) and Boan Venter (prop) have recovered from injury to join him.

Fijian internationalist Mesu Kunavula, Scotland cap Jaco van der Walt and Luke Crosbie complete the changes to the replacements, having started last weekend, with the return of Charlie Shiel and Mark Bennett completing the match-day 23.

Edinburgh Rugby team to play Racing 92 at the Paris La Defense Arena, Heineken Champions Cup

Sunday 4 April (kick-off 12.30pm BST) – live on BT Sport

15. Damien Hoyland (81)

14. Darcy Graham (38)
13. James Johnstone (61)
12. George Taylor (32)
11. Duhan van der Merwe (64)

10. Blair Kinghorn (97)
9. Henry Pyrgos VICE CAPTAIN (48)

1. Pierre Schoeman (59)
2. David Cherry (33)
3. WP Nel (151)
4. Magnus Bradbury (94)
5. Grant Gilchrist CAPTAIN (157)
6. Jamie Ritchie (73)
7. Hamish Watson (118)
8. Viliame Mata (85)

16. Mike Willemse (35)
17. Boan Venter (3)
18.Simon Berghan (89)
19. Mesu Kunavula (7)
20. Luke Crosbie (53)
21. Charlie Shiel (31)
22. Jaco van de Walt (70)
23. Mark Bennett (52)

Unavailable due to injury [12]: Lewis Carmichael, Nathan Chamberlain, Andrew Davidson, Chris Dean, Dan Gamble, Sam Grahamslaw, Nick Haining, Stuart McInally, Fraser McKenzie, Dan Nutton, Rory Sutherland, Ben Toolis

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