Ritchie and Van der Merwe return to face Munster

Ritchie and Van der Merwe return to face Munster

Scotland international Jamie Ritchie and reigning Guinness PRO14 Players’ Player of the Season Duhan van der Merwe both return to the starting line-up as Edinburgh Rugby travel to face Munster at Thomond Park this Saturday (10 October, kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports.

The capital side make seven changes to the side that slipped to defeat in last weekend’s 2020-21 season opener with Scotland prop duo Rory Sutherland and WP Nel both handed starts for the Round 2 clash.

Hamish Watson and George Taylor – who both featured as substitutes in the defeat to Ospreys – get the nod at openside and inside centre respectively, while Nic Groom returns from injury to start at scrum-half.

Edinburgh Rugby remain without the services of internationalists Viliame Mata, Magnus Bradbury, Henry Pyrgos and Blair Kinghorn who all miss out through injury.

Ahead of the fixture, Head Coach Richard Cockerill, said: “I think we’ve got to go there and put in a performance that’s worthy of us as a team. If we get our performance and mentality right, there’s no reason why we can’t push them very hard and be in the game to try and win it.

“We still have some guys missing but we have a good side and we’ve got to front up. We need positives from the game, hopefully the points, but we need to start playing better in key moments. Munster have a great team but we have our own expectations and standards to live up to.

“We’re looking forward to facing a talented Munster side tomorrow night and the boys are up for the challenge.”

The return of Van der Merwe on the flank is the only alteration to an otherwise unchanged back-three as Darcy Graham and Damien Hoyland continue at wing and fullback respectively.

A new look centre pairing sees Taylor and Mark Bennett combine in midfield, while scrum-half Groom – who makes his first appearance since last month’s PRO14 Semi-Final – links up with stand-off Jaco van der Walt at half-back.

In the front-row, Stuart McInally once again starts at hooker and packs down alongside prop pairing Sutherland and Nel.

Scotland international lock Grant Gilchrist – this week named co-captain of the club alongside McInally – is once again paired with Ben Toolis in the second-row.

No. 8 Nick Haining continues to anchor a back-row that sees flankers Ritchie and Watson complete the pack.

Edinburgh Rugby team to face Munster at Thomond Park in the Guinness PRO14

Saturday 10 October (kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports

15. Damien Hoyland (76)

14. Darcy Graham (34)

13. Mark Bennett (39)

12. George Taylor (24)

11. Duhan van der Merwe (60)

10. Jaco van der Walt (59)

9. Nic Groom (13)

1. Rory Sutherland (85)

2. Stuart McInally (147) CO-CAPTAIN

3. WP Nel (143)

4. Ben Toolis (122)

5. Grant Gilchrist (152) CO-CAPTAIN

6. Jamie Ritchie (70)

7. Hamish Watson (112)

8. Nick Haining (15)

Replacements: 16. Mike Willemse (22) 17. Pierre Schoeman (45) 18 Simon Berghan (83) 19. Andrew Davidson (4) 20. Mesulame Kunavula (3) 21. Dan Nutton (2) 22. Nathan Chamberlain (3) 23. James Johnstone (51)

Unavailable due to injury: Blair Kinghorn, Luke Crosbie, Magnus Bradbury, Henry Pyrgos, Viliame Mata, Fraser McKenzie, Chris Dean, Charlie Shiel, Matt Gordon

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