Kinghorn to become youngest club centurion
Blair Kinghorn will become the youngest player to reach 100 Edinburgh Rugby appearances tomorrow night when he returns to face inter-city rivals Glasgow Warriors in the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup at BT Murrayfield Stadium (15 May, kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports.
Born and raised in the capital, Kinghorn will surpass the feat of former scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (24 years and 169 days) in becoming the club’s 35th centurion aged 24 years and 117 days, five years on from his debut against Benetton Rugby at the national stadium in October 2016.
The full-back – who has also racked up 25 caps for his country – extended his contract with his hometown team earlier this year and returns from compassionate leave to replace the injured Duhan van der Merwe, with Damien Hoyland moving to wing and Eroni Sau completing the back three.
A new midfield partnership of Chris Dean and James Johnstone starts the match – with centre George Taylor moving to the bench – while 21-year-old stand-off Charlie Savala comes in for Nathan Chamberlain to make his first home appearance alongside Henry Pyrgos at half-back.
A further three starting changes are made to the pack, with co-captain and hooker Stuart McInally – who made a try-scoring return from injury as a replacement last weekend – accompanying Pierre Schoeman and WP Nel in the front-row, with Mike Willemse joining the squad as replacement hooker.
Forwards Marshall Sykes (lock) and Mesu Kunavula (back-row) are promoted from the bench in place of injured pair Grant Gilchrist and Jamie Ritchie, with Ally Miller and Connor Boyle taking their vacated forwards replacements berths on the bench.
Back-row Luke Crosbie, lock Jamie Hodgson and number 8 Viliame Mata are reselected and complete the pack.
Head Coach Richard Cockerill said: “We’ve worked hard to address a few things our game that contributed to a frustrating defeat to Glasgow last weekend, while also ensuring some of the parts that went well continue to be a source of strength for us.
“Every time we pull on an Edinburgh shirt we play to win and we’ve picked a side we feel has a good balance of experienced internationalists, those competing for places and some young, up-and-coming prospects in our squad, who get a chance alongside some seasoned pros.
“We’re still very much in this competition and tomorrow’s game will play a big part in whether that remains to be the case, so we’ll be going out there to front up physically, first and foremost, get our basics right, and put a marker down for the standards we expect from one to 15.”
Edinburgh Rugby team to play Glasgow Warriors at BT Murrayfield Stadium
Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup, Saturday 15 May (kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports
Unavailable through injury (19): Magnus Bradbury, Lewis Carmichael, Matt Currie, Andrew Davidson, Andries Ferreira, Dan Gamble, Grant Gilchrist, Darcy Graham, Sam Grahamslaw, Nick Haining, Dan Nutton, Freddie Owsley, Jamie Ritchie, Rory Sutherland, Nathan Sweeney, Ben Toolis, Duhan van der Merwe, Jaco van der Walt, Hamish Watson.