Scotland trio released for Kings encounter
Head Coach Richard Cockerill has been boosted by the return of recent Scotland call-ups David Cherry, Luke Crosbie and Chris Dean ahead of tomorrow evening’s Guinness PRO14 encounter against Isuzu Southern Kings at Madibaz Stadium (Saturday 26 January kick-off 3.15pm GMT/ 5.15pm local time) – live on Premier Sports 2
The uncapped trio – who were released from Scotland camp earlier this week - are named in the starting line-up as the team selection includes nine changes to the side that secured an historic Heineken Champions Cup victory against Montpellier last Friday night.
Pierre Schoeman, Bill Mata, Henry Pyrgos, Jaco van der Walt, James Johnstone and Dean all retain their place in the starting XV as the capital side search for their second victory over their Conference B rivals this month.
Ahead of the fixture in Port Elizabeth, which sees Edinburgh make their first ever visit to the Madibaz Stadium, Cockerill said: “We’ve had a tough and intense week of training in Port Elizabeth and the boys are looking forward to going up against a combative Southern Kings side.
“The players should take credit for our good run of form, but we’ve got to back it up at the Madibaz Stadium tomorrow evening.
“We certainly won’t take our opponents lightly. We will need to be at the top of our game, both mentally and physically, if we are to secure all points on offer come full-time.”
Fullback Dougie Fife returns to action for the first time since being named as man of the match in the 38-0 victory over the Southern Kings three-weeks ago.
The Scotland international is joined in the back-three by Tom Brown and James Johnstone, with the latter switching to the wing after nailing down the number 13 jersey in recent weeks.
Dean is partnered in midfield by Fosroc Scottish Rugby Academy graduate, George Taylor, whilst an unchanged half-back paring sees Van der Walt once again link-up with experienced scrum-half, Pyrgos.
In the front-row, Schoeman packs down alongside hooker Cherry – who last week was one of 12 Edinburgh players named in Scotland’s Six Nations squad – and Italian international Pietro Ceccarelli.
Fraser McKenzie – who returned from injury to skipper the capital side to victory over Southern Kings three-weeks-ago – is once again named as captain and is partnered in the second-row by Callum Hunter-Hill.
Fijian international No.8, Mata – who this week was named as one of 15 nominees for EPCR European Player of the Year – anchors a back-row featuring Ally Miller and blindside flanker, Crosbie.
Edinburgh team to face Southern Kings at the Madibaz Stadium in the Guinness PRO14 on Saturday 26 January (kick-off 3.15pm GMT/ 5.15pm local time) – live on Premier Sports 2
15. Dougie Fife (119)
14. Tom Brown (116)
13. George Taylor (2)
12. Chris Dean (80)
11. James Johnstone (34)
10. Jaco van der Walt (31)
9. Henry Pyrgos (16)
1. Pierre Schoeman (14)
2. David Cherry (12)
3. Pietro Ceccarelli (6)
4. Fraser McKenzie (108) CAPTAIN
5. Callum Hunter-Hill (11)
6. Luke Crosbie (22)
7. Ally Miller (4)
8. Viliame Mata (52)
Replacements: 16. Ross Ford (190); 17. Darryl Marfo (11); 18. Murray McCallum (46) 19. Jamie Hodgson (4). 20. Mungo Mason (1) 21. Nathan Fowles (68) 22. Simon Hickey (14) 23. Juan Pablo Socino (13)
Unavailable due to injury: Rory Sutherland; Lewis Carmichael; John Barclay; Magnus Bradbury; Senitiki Nayalo; Hamish Watson; Luke Hamilton; Matt Scott; Mark Bennett; Damien Hoyland
Unavailable due to international selection: Allan Dell; WP Nel; Simon Berghan; Stuart McInally; Grant Gilchrist; Ben Toolis; Jamie Ritchie; Darcy Graham; Blair Kinghorn