Lang handed first start for Benetton
Scotland internationalist James Lang will make his first start for the Edinburgh side he joined this summer as one of six changes named by Head Coach Mike Blair for tomorrow’s United Rugby Championship match against Benetton at Stadio Comunale di Monigo (2 October, kick-off 1pm UK time/ 2pm local) – live on Premier Sports.
Lang is promoted to the starting line-up after impressing off the bench against Scarlets in last week’s bonus-point win at DAM Health Stadium, while stand-off Jaco van der Walt replaces the injured Blair Kinghorn in the number 10 jersey.
The remaining changes are made to the pack as props Boan Venter and WP Nel rotate into the front-row, Jamie Hodgson replaces Marshall Sykes in the second-row, while flanker Connor Boyle makes his second start for his hometown club, replacing Luke Crosbie who moves to the bench.
Ahead of the match, Head Coach Mike Blair, said: “The boys were buzzing after the win against Scarlets. It was a great result and we showed brilliant team spirit to see out the game and secure the victory in front of a packed-out crowd at DAM Health Stadium.
“This week has had a really good atmosphere - we were pleased that we got the win but there was also a determination to improve in a number of areas. The boys have put in a lot of work and we’ve prepared well for the challenge that awaits us in Treviso.
“Benetton are a really strong side. They’ve won the Rainbow Cup and six of their last seven games, including Saturday’s URC opener against a strong Stormers team. They’ll be very confident going into the game."
An unchanged back-three sees Henry Immelman continue at full-back with wingers Darcy Graham – twice a try-scorer against Scarlets – and Jack Blain once again selected on opposite flanks.
Outside centre Mark Bennett – who has crossed the whitewash on each of his last three appearances – links up with Lang in midfield, as scrum-half Ben Vellacott – named Player of the Match against Scarlets – is paired with Van der Walt at half-back.
Up front, Stuart McInally retains his place at hooker and packs down alongside an all-new prop pairing of Venter and Nel, while Grant Gilchrist and Hodgson form the remainder of the tight-five.
The inclusion of Boyle at openside flanker is the only alteration to an otherwise unchanged back-row as Jamie Ritchie and Viliame Mata – who each carried a URC Round 1 best 17-times against Scarlets - complete the pack.
Elsewhere, club centurion Chris Dean and summer signings Ramiro Moyano and Pierce Phillips are all named among the replacements, with Dean in line to make his first appearance of the season, and Moyano and Phillips set to make their competitive debuts for the club.
Edinburgh Rugby team to face Benetton at Stadio Comunale di Monigo in the United Rugby Championship
Saturday 2 October, kick-off 1pm UK time/ 2pm local – live on Premier Sports
15. Henry Immelman (1)
14. Darcy Graham (40)
13. Mark Bennett (55)
12. James Lang (1)
11. Jack Blain (16)
10. Jaco van der Walt (72)
9. Ben Vellacott (1)
1. Boan Venter (8)
2. Stuart McInally (154)
3. WP Nel (157)
4. Jamie Hodgson (24)
5. Grant Gilchrist (160) CAPTAIN
6. Jamie Ritchie (78)
7. Connor Boyle (8)
8. Viliame Mata (90)
Replacements: 16. Dave Cherry (37) 17. Pierre Schoeman (66) 18. Lee-Roy Atalifo (11) 19. Pierce Phillips* 20. Luke Crosbie (59) 21. Charlie Shiel (37) 22. Chris Dean (108) 23. Ramiro Moyano*
Unavailable due to injury: Magnus Bradbury, Nick Haining, Damien Hoyland, Blair Kinghorn, George Taylor, Ben Toolis, Hamish Watson, Glen Young
*Edinburgh Rugby competitive debut