Gilchrist returns as WP targets 150
Edinburgh Rugby co-captain and second-row stalwart Grant Gilchrist will return from injury against Glasgow Warriors in tomorrow night’s 1872 Cup derby at Scotstoun Stadium (Friday 8 January, kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports.
Gilchrist has been side-lined with a groin injury since October and is a welcome boost to the on-field leadership and starting second-row, where he partners Andrew Davidson, who returns from a two-game absence with an ankle injury.
Their inclusion sees Jamie Hodgson move to the bench, while Ben Toolis misses out through injury (ankle).
The two remaining changes to the pack sees Rory Sutherland (loosehead) and Simon Berghan (tighthead) start, trading places with counterparts Pierre Schoeman and WP Nel – who move to the bench – where WP Nel could make his 150thappearance for the club if called into action.
Three further changes occur in the back line where wings Jack Blain and Eroni Sau come into the squad for Duhan van der Merwe and Darcy Graham – absent through injury (knee) and personal reasons respectively – while scrum-half Nic Groom starts in place of Henry Pyrgos, who moves to the bench.
Edinburgh edged the previous meeting between the sides 10-7 after the turn of the New Year at BT Murrayfield Stadium, with the return fixture vital for Guinness PRO14 points alongside the prospect of keeping the coveted 1872 Cup in the east of Scotland.
Edinburgh Rugby Head Coach, Richard Cockerill, said: “It was a turgid affair last time as both sides cancelled each other out for much of the match.
“We were happy to get the win and with certain elements of our game – and will certainly look to exert pressure in those areas again – but there’s a lot we need to improve on if we’re going to come away from Glasgow with the points.
“We’ve picked a good side and it’s good to add Gilcho [Grant Gilchrist] back into that mix because he adds a lot of experience and quality.
“We’ve made a few adjustments, offered opportunities to a couple of others in the squad and challenged them to be a point of difference for us this week.
“These derby matches mean a lot to us and we’ll be going out there, just as we did last week, to find a way to win for league points and our supporters.”
The starting side is completed by reselected full-back Blair Kinghorn, who combines with Sau and Blain in the back-three, Mark Bennett and Chris Dean reform the midfield once more and stand-off Jaco van der Walt returns to partner Groom at half back.
The pack is completed by co-captain and hooker Stuart McInally, who links up with Sutherland and Berghan in the front-row, and an unchanged back-row trio of Villiame Mata (number 8), Jamie Ritchie and recently re-signed openside Hamish Watson.
On the bench David Cherry takes the place of Mike Willemse.
Edinburgh team to play Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun Stadium in the Guinness PRO14 (1872 Cup)
Friday 8 January (kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports
14. Eroni Sau (15)
12. Chris Dean (101)
11. Jack Blain (7)
18. WP Nel (149)