Scotland stars return as Owsley debuts against Brive
Edinburgh Rugby welcome back several Scotland internationalists while handing a competitive debut to wing Freddie Owsley to face CA Brive at DAM Health Stadium in the EPCR Challenge tomorrow night (Friday 20 January, kick-off 8pm).
Scotland caps Darcy Graham, Mark Bennett, Dave Cherry, Hamish Watson and Stuart McInally all return after missing last weekend’s defeat to London Irish, as Owsley – who joined the club from Bristol Bears – gets his first taste of professional rugby for the capital side having already featured for FOSROC Super6 side Southern Knights.
Cammy Hutchison returns from injury to start at inside-centre, while scrum-half Charlie Shiel gets his opportunity in the number 9 jersey in the remaining changes to the backline.
A reshuffled tight-five sees Watsonians’ partnership player Angus Williams start at tight-head, as lock Glen Young make his first start for the club following his summer move from English Premiership Champions, Harlequins.
Elsewhere, Fijian international number 8 Mesu Kunavula returns from injury to make his first start of the season, having last featured against Vodacom Bulls in October.
Ahead of the match – which sees Edinburgh Rugby host a home European crowd for the first time since January 2020 – Head Coach Mike Blair said:
“We were obviously frustrated with last weekend’s loss to London Irish, however, after a good week of training you can feel the buzz around the squad to get a reaction and we’re really excited to be back in front of our home support at DAM Health Stadium this Friday night.
“We’ve made a number of changes to the squad and we’re excited to see those guys get their chance – including Freddie [Owsley] who’s had to remain patient for his opportunity – but has really invested in himself by working hard at his game and driving his self-improvement."
“We’ve spoken this week about physicality and speed of thought but also around engaging our supporters by imposing our game on Brive.”
A revamped back-three sees Argentine internationalist Emilano Boffelli return to full-back as Graham – who makes his first appearance since facing Benetton last month – and Owsley are named on opposite wings.
Outside-centre Bennett – who grabbed a brace of tries in his last home outing against Cardiff Rugby – links up with Hutchison in midfield as stand-off Blair Kinghorn and scrum-half Shiel are paired at half-back.
Up front, Scotland duo Pierre Schoeman and Cherry pack down alongside Williams, while locks Grant Gilchrist – who this week penned a new long-term deal – and Young complete the tight-five.
Kunavula anchors a back-row alongside Scotland duo Watson and Ritchie.
Edinburgh Rugby team to face CA Brive at DAM Health Stadium in Round 4 of the EPCR Challenge Cup
Friday 21 January, kick-off 8pm – streamed live at epcrugby.tv
15. Emiliano Boffelli (5)
14. Darcy Graham (44)
13. Mark Bennett (60)
12. Cammy Hutchison (7)
11. Freddie Owsley*
10. Blair Kinghorn (108) VICE-CAPTAIN
9. Charlie Shiel (40)
1. Pierre Schoeman (74)
2. Dave Cherry (45)
3. Angus Williams (6)
4. Glen Young (1)
5. Grant Gilchrist (167) CAPTAIN
6. Jamie Ritchie (84) VICE-CAPTAIN
7. Hamish Watson (123)
8. Mesulame Kunavula (15)
16. Stuart McInally (160)
17. Harrison Courtney (1)
18. WP Nel (164)
19. Marshall Sykes (14)
20. Ben Muncaster (3)
21. Henry Pyrgos (57)
22. Charlie Savala (6)\
23. Henry Immelman (7)
Unavailable: Luke Crosbie, Luan de Bruin, Nick Haining, Damien Hoyland, James Lang, Viliame Mata, Ramiro Moyano, Ben Toolis
*Edinburgh Rugby debut