Experienced stars return for Bordeaux test
Edinburgh welcome back eight internationalists to their starting XV for tomorrow night’s Challenge Cup clash with Bordeaux-Begles at BT Murrayfield (Friday 22 November, kick-off 7.35pm).
With 13 changes to the side that claimed a bonus-point away win against Agen in round one last weekend, Scotland stars Blair Kinghorn, Mark Bennett, Matt Scott, Henry Pyrgos, Ben Toolis and Magnus Bradbury all return to the starting line-up.
As Edinburgh look to maintain their 100 per cent home record this current campaign, the team selection also sees Fijian international Viliame Mata make his first start of the season, while Duhan van der Merwe, Jaco van der Walt, Pierre Schoeman, Mike Willemse, Pietro Ceccarelli and Luke Crosbie are all named to face the Top 14 club.
Ahead of the match, Head Coach Richard Cockerill, said: “We enjoyed a good win in Agen last weekend and we want to keep the momentum going against Bordeaux this Friday night.
“We’ve made a number of changes to the starting line-up – bringing back plenty of experience across the board – and I expect us to perform on the night. We’re back at BT Murrayfield in front of our own supporters and we always want to do well at home.
“We know how difficult a test we face tomorrow night. Bordeaux are second in the Top 14 for a reason and have players throughout their squad that can cause damage on any stage.
“However, we’ve had a really good training week and the boys are looking forward to the challenge.”
Scotland star Kinghorn returns at fullback, with wingers Van der Merwe – who has four tries in his last two matches – and Eroni Sau named on opposite flanks.
Centres Scott and Bennett once again link-up in midfield, as a revamped half-back pairing sees Henry Pyrgos – who skippers the side – and Jaco van der Walt named at scrum-half and stand-off respectively.
Hooker Mike Willemse packs down alongside Pierre Schoeman and Italian international Pietro Ceccarelli in an all-new front-row, with club centurions Ben Toolis and Grant Gilchrist both named at lock.
Edinburgh rotate their back-row combination as Mata, Crosbie and Bradbury all get the nod for only the capital side's third ever meeting with Bordeaux-Begles.
Edinburgh Rugby team to face Bordeaux-Begles at BT Murrayfield in the Challenge Cup
Friday 22 November, kick-off 7.35pm
15. Blair Kinghorn (80)
14. Eroni Sau (4)
13. Mark Bennett (26)
12. Matt Scott (87)
11. Duhan van der Merwe (46)
10. Jaco van der Walt (44)
9. Henry Pyrgos (27) CAPTAIN
1. Pierre Schoeman (29)
2. Mike Willemse (6)
3. Pietro Ceccarelli (16)
4. Ben Toolis (111)
5. Grant Gilchrist (139)
6. Magnus Bradbury (68)
7. Luke Crosbie (32)
8. Viliame Mata (61)
Replacements: 16. Cameron Fenton (17) 17. Jamie Bhatti (6) 18. Simon Berghan (69) 19. Murray Douglas (5) 20. John Barclay (7) 21. Charlie Shiel (12) 22. Simon Hickey (24) 23. George Taylor (11)
Unavailable: Darryl Marfo, Dave Cherry, Jamie Ritchie, Ruan Steenkamp, Hamish Watson, Darcy Graham, Jack Stanley, Nic Groom, Damien Hoyland, Rory Darge, WP Nel, Fraser McKenzie, Chris Dean