Sau to debut as Scotland stars return for Scarlets test
Fijian international winger Eroni Sau makes his debut as Edinburgh Rugby welcome back several Scotland stars from Rugby World Cup duty for tomorrow’s Guinness PRO14 match against Scarlets at BT Murrayfield (Saturday 26 October, kick-off 7.35pm).
Sau is named in the starting line-up for the first time this season following his summer move from Perpignan, while Scotland international Blair Kinghorn returns immediately to the starting XV after being named at fullback.
With six total changes to the side that faced Leinster two-weeks ago, the team selection also sees centre Matt Scott and lock Fraser McKenzie return from injury to start, while Simon Hickey and Ally Miller get the nod at stand-off and blindside flanker respectively.
Scotland stars Magnus Bradbury and Henry Pyrgos are named among the replacements and if called upon will both make their first appearance of the season.
Ahead of the fixture, Head Coach Richard Cockerill, said: "Scarlets are a good side, they’ve got good players and they’ve had as many missing as ourselves. They’re unbeaten, they’ve got a new coach who has a very expansive way of playing.
“They’re pretty much like ourselves: they’re pretty functional, they look to get the ball wide, very hard off the line in defence – we’ve had a couple of games already where teams do that.
“We know what’s coming. We need to bounce back from a pretty average performance in parts at Leinster. It should be a great contest and we’re really looking forward to getting back in front of our home support at BT Murrayfield.”
South African winger Duhan van der Merwe is the only player to retain his place in the back-three as Kinghorn and Sau get the nod at fullback and wing respectively.
Scotland international centre Scott returns from injury to make his first appearance since the round one victory over Zebre. He is partnered in midfield by Mark Bennett, who is Edinburgh’s top try-scorer in the Championship with four scores so far this season.
At half-back, Kiwi stand-off Hickey makes his first start of the season, with Nic Groom – who skippers the side – once again named at scrum-half.
An unchanged front-row sees South African hooker Mike Willemse pack down alongside compatriot Pierre Schoeman and Italian international tighthead prop, Pietro Ceccarelli.
Club centurion McKenzie is once again fit and named at lock, with Murray Douglas – ever-present this season – selected alongside him in the second-row.
The inclusion of Miller at bindside flanker is the only alteration to an otherwise unchanged back-row as openside flanker, Luke Crosbie, and No.8, Nick Haining, form the remainder of the pack.
Edinburgh Rugby team to face Scarlets at BT Murrayfield in the Guinness PRO14
Saturday 26 October (kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports
15. Blair Kinghorn (77)
14. Eroni Sau*
13. Mark Bennett (23)
12. Matt Scott (84)
11. Duhan van der Merwe (44)
10. Simon Hickey (21)
9. Nic Groom (3) CAPTAIN
1. Pierre Schoeman (26)
2. Mike Willemse (3)
3. Pietro Ceccarelli (13)
4. Fraser McKenzie (115)
5. Murray Douglas (4)
6. Ally Miller (11)
7. Luke Crosbie (29)
8. Nick Haining (3)
Replacements: 16. Cameron Fenton (14) 17. Jamie Bhatti (3) 18. Murray McCallum (52) 19. Sam Thomson (1) 20. Magnus Bradbury (65) 21. Henry Pyrgos (24) 22. Jaco van der Walt (42) 23. George Taylor (7)
Unavailable due to injury: Ewan Ashman, Dave Cherry, Jack Stanley, Darryl Marfo, Lewis Carmichael, Ruan Steenkamp, Hamish Watson, Chris Dean, Jack Blain
*Edinburgh Rugby competitive debut