Mata returns for Connacht clash
Head Coach Richard Cockerill today named the Edinburgh Rugby team for tomorrow night’s Guinness PRO14 clash with Connacht in Galway (13 March, kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports.
The selection shows two changes to the XV named for last weekend’s postponed match against Benetton.
Number 8 Viliame Mata – unavailable for selection last weekend through injury – makes a timely return in place of Nick Haining, who has been retained in Scotland camp along with hooker David Cherry, which sees Mike Willemse promoted from the bench.
Prop Simon Berghan and stand-off Jaco van der Walt have also been recalled by the national team.
Berghan’s place on the bench is taken by Watsonians tighthead Angus Williams, who is one of three potential debutants named, with hooker Sam Kitchen and stand-off Charlie Savala also waiting in the wings.
Injury kept van der Walt out of contention last weekend, so his international recall ensures the reinstatement of 20-year-old stand-off Nathan Chamberlain alongside scrum-half Charlie Shiel.
The young duo will steer the reselected back division of George Taylor and James Johnstone in midfield and a back-three trio of Eroni Sau, Jack Blain (wings) and co-captain and full-back Damien Hoyland.
Props Pierre Schoeman (co-captain) and Lee-Roy Atalifo are renamed alongside Willemse in the front-row, Magnus Bradbury partners Andrew Davidson at lock, while Ally Miller and Luke Crosbie return alongside Mata in the back-row.
Second-row Jamie Hodgson return to fitness to take the lock replacement berth in place of Andries Ferreira.
Edinburgh Rugby Head Coach, Richard Cockerill, said: “Our goal is to qualify for the Champions Cup and while that remains mathematically possible it’s exactly what we’ll be going out there to do tomorrow.
“Galway is a tough hunting ground for traveling teams and they’ve performed very well this season and deserve their place as the current runner-up in our conference.
“Andy Friend [Connacht Head Coach] has them well coached so it’ll will take an excellent performance from us to come away with the points this weekend.”
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Edinburgh Rugby team to play Connacht at the Sportsground, Guinness PRO14
Saturday 13 March, kick-off 7.35pm – live on Premier Sports
14. Jack Blain (9)
13. James Johnstone (59)
12. George Taylor (29)
11. Eroni Sau (19)
10. Nathan Chamberlain (6)
9. Charlie Shiel (28)
1. Pierre Schoeman CO-CAPTAIN (58)
2. Mike Willemse (33)
3. Lee-Roy Atalifo (5)
4. Magnus Bradbury (91)
5. Andrew Davidson (11)
6. Luke Crosbie (50)
7. Ally Miller (21)
8. Viliame Mata (83)
16. Sam Kitchen (0)
17. Boan Venter (1)
18. Angus Williams (0)
19. Jamie Hodgson (16)
20. Mesu Kunavula (4)
21. Henry Pyrgos (45)
22. Charlie Savala (0)
23. Mark Bennett (49)
Unavailable on Scotland duty (11): Simon Berghan, David Cherry, Grant Gilchrist, Darcy Graham, Nick Haining, Willem Nel, Jamie Ritchie, Rory Sutherland, Duhan van der Merwe, Jaco van der Walt, Hamish Watson.
Unavailable through injury (9): Lewis Carmichael, Dan Gamble, Nic Groom, Charlie Jupp, Blair Kinghorn, Stuart McInally, Fraser McKenzie, Dan Nutton, Ben Toolis.