Scotland internationalists back for Cell C Sharks test
Edinburgh Rugby welcome back seven Scotland internationalists to their starting XV for tomorrow evening’s United Rugby Championship clash against Cell C Sharks at Hollywoodbets Stadium in Durban (Saturday 26 March, kick-off 3.05pm GMT/ 5.05pm local) – live on Premier Sports.
Mark Bennett – who skippers the capital side – James Lang (both centre), Blair Kinghorn (stand-off), Ben Vellacott (scrum-half), Jamie Hodgson (lock), Magnus Bradbury and Hamish Watson (both back-row) all start the first ever meeting of the two sides.
The team selection includes three further changes to the side that faced Glasgow Warriors a week ago as Freddie Owsley makes his second start for the club on the wing, while Boan Venter and Lee-Roy Atalifo form a new front-row pairing.
Ahead of the fixture, Head Coach Mike Blair, said: “We’ve really relished our time in South Africa so far and the squad are all buying into what we’re trying to achieve. It’s hot, conditions are tricky and we’re out of our comfort zones but that’s what makes this challenge so exciting. It’s really galvanised the playing group.
“We’re here to do something special. No travelling team has won in South Africa in the URC so far this season and we want to do everything we can to change that. But, in saying that, we’re under no illusion about the task ahead as Sharks are a quality side, with a number of Springboks in their ranks.
“After a long flight and recovery to start the week, we’ve trained excellently and an intensity has been building ahead of tomorrow night’s clash. We’re really proud to represent the city and club on South African soil and the guys are excited for what is going to be a massive test.”
In the back-three, Argentine international Emiliano Boffelli switches to full-back with compatriot Ramiro Moyano and Owsley selected on opposite wings.
Centres Lang and Bennett complete an all-Scotland midfield pairing, while Kinghorn and Vellacott also return from international duty to form an exciting half-back combination.
Hooker Dave Cherry – named vice-captain – packs down alongside props Venter and Atalifo up front, as locks Hodgson and Pierce Phillips complete the tight-five.
With Scotland duo Bradbury and Watson returning at blindside and openside flanker respectively, young back-row Ben Muncaster switches to number 8, following a run of impressive performances for the capital side.
Edinburgh Rugby team to face Cell C Sharks at Hollywoodbets Kings Park Stadium in the United Rugby Championship
Saturday 26 March (kick-off 3.05pm GMT/ 5.05pm local) – live on Premier Sports
15. Emiliano Boffelli (11)
14. Ramiro Moyano (9)
13. Mark Bennett (63) CAPTAIN
12. James Lang (12)
11. Freddie Owsley (1)
10. Blair Kinghorn (111) VICE-CAPTAIN
9. Ben Vellacott (14)
1. Boan Venter (22)
2. Dave Cherry (51) VICE-CAPTAIN
3. Lee-Roy Atalifo (20)
4. Pierce Phillips (7)
5. Jamie Hodgson (34)
6. Magnus Bradbury (105)
7. Hamish Watson (124)
8. Ben Muncaster (8)
16. Adam McBurney (7)
17. Harrison Courtney (5)
18. Luan de Bruin (5)
19. Glen Young (7)
20. Connor Boyle (17)
21. Charlie Shiel (42)
22. Jaco van der Walt (81)
23. Chris Dean (115)
Unavailable: Rudi Brown, Jamie Campbell, Luke Crosbie, Nick Haining, Damien Hoyland, Henry Immelman, James Johnstone, Viliame Mata, Jamie Ritchie, Ben Toolis.