McInally and Dean hit milestones as Edinburgh face Sharks
Hooker Stuart McInally and centre Chris Dean will make their 150th and 100th Edinburgh Rugby appearance this Saturday against Sale Sharks in the Heineken Champions Cup at the AJ Bell Stadium (19 December, kick-off 8pm) – live of BT Sport.
Their achievements realise boyhood dreams to represent the professional club they grew up supporting with such distinction. Dean will earn the ‘100’ mark on his match jerseys from this point on.
Edinburgh Rugby Head coach, Richard Cockerill, said: “It’s a great achievement to represent the club so many times, something which has taken a great deal of commitment from both men over the years.
“They’re both Edinburgh boys and we know it means a lot to them, with Chris now keeping impressive company on our centurions’ board in the team room.”
Edinburgh and their opponents go into the match off the back of opening round defeats to French opposition, with tomorrow’s round two contest vital in keeping any hopes of progressing in the tournament alive.
McInally and Dean return to a starting side that features six changes to that which narrowly lost out to La Rochelle last weekend - three of whom are promoted from last week's bench and three from outside the squad, one of which is injury enforced.
Wing Jack Blain (wing), scrum-half Charlie Shiel and back-row Magnus Bradbury start in place of rested trio Darcy Graham, Henry Pyrgos and Jamie Ritchie.
Lock Jamie Hodgson comes in to start in place of the injured Andrew Davidson (ankle), while props Rory Sutherland and Simon Berghan switch places with Pierre Schoeman and WP Nel, who are named on the bench.
The squad changes are completed by hooker David Cherry and back-row Luke Crosbie who join the bench in place of Mike Willemse – who drops out of the squad – and the promoted Bradbury.
Edinburgh Rugby Head coach, Richard Cockerill, said: “The format and quality of this season’s tournament means it’s incredibly difficult to qualify for the knockout rounds.
“We were good in parts against a very good La Rochelle side last weekend, but we’ll need to be better against Sale tomorrow.
“We’re going to need our best performance of the season.”
Full-back Blair Kinghorn and wing Duhan van der Merwe return to the back-three to accompany Blain, Mark Bennett is reinstated in the centre alongside Dean, while returning stand-off Jaco van der Walt partners Shiel at half-back.
Ben Toolis returns to second-row alongside Hodgson, while Viliame Mata and Hamish Watson complete the back-row with Bradbury.
Edinburgh Rugby team to play Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell Stadium
Heineken Champions Cup, Saturday 19 December (kick-off 8pm) – live on BT Sport
15 Blair Kinghorn (92)
14 Jack Blain (6)
13 Mark Bennett (44)
12 Chris Dean (99)
11 Duhan van der Merwe (62)
10 Jaco van der Walt (63)
9 Charlie Shiel (24)
1 Rory Sutherland (87)
2 Stuart McInally CAPTAIN (149)
3 Simon Berghan (85)
4 Ben Toolis (124)
5 Jamie Hodgson (11)
6 Magnus Bradbury (85)
7 Hamish Watson (114)
8 Viliame Mata (77)
16 David Cherry (28)
17 Pierre Schoeman (52)
18 WP Nel (147)
19 Andries Ferreira (5)
20 Luke Crosbie (45)
21 Nic Groom (18)
22 Nathan Chamberlain (6)
23 James Johnstone (57)
Unavailable through injury (11): Lewis Carmichael, Andrew Davidson, Grant Gilchrist, Matt Gordon, Nick Haining, Damien Hoyland, Murray McCallum, Fraser McKenzie, Dan Nutton, Charlie Savala, George Taylor.