Scotland stars return for BT Murrayfield farewell
Edinburgh Rugby welcome the return of four Scotland stars to start tomorrow’s Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup encounter against Ulster, the capital club’s last match as a permanent resident at BT Murrayfield Stadium (5 June, kick-off 5.15pm) – live on Premier Sports.
Back-row duo Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson, lock Ben Toolis and wing Duhan van der Merwe are all fit to play in the BT Murrayfield farewell, before the club takes residence in its brand new 7,800-seater stadium in time for the new season.
Ritchie will captain the side just four days after being named national team skipper for the forthcoming Summer Tour, while Watson will make his first appearance since being named in the 2021 British & Irish Lions squad.
Wing van der Merwe is back from a short spell on the side-lines and takes his place in the back-three, while Toolis returns from a five-month absence to partner 21-year-old Marshall Sykes in the boiler house.
The returning four are among 10 changes to the starting side which lost to Glasgow last month, with three of the club’s teenage FOSROC Academy prospects handed opportunities from the outset – debutant and full-back Harry Paterson (19), hooker Patrick Harrison (18) and number 8 Ben Muncaster (19).
Edinburgh Rugby Head Coach, Richard Cockerill, said: “We’re pleased to welcome the return of some quality, experienced players alongside some exciting young talent for our final match at BT Murrayfield.
“It’s been no secret we’ve missed a number of players throughout this campaign so to see them back is a real boost for this weekend, and also as we look ahead to a full pre-season in preparation for life in our new home.
“Their experience will be invaluable to the young players who have developed alongside them in training this season and now get either another or a first chance to put a performance out there in an Edinburgh shirt and show us what they’re about.
“Ulster are a quality and consistent opponent. They’ve shown that throughout this season’s Guinness PRO14 competitions so we’re under no illusions how hard we’re going to have to work, and well we’re going to have to play, if we’re to come away with the result.”
Paterson’s selection at 15 allows Blair Kinghorn to partner scrum-half Charlie Shiel at half-back who, alongside centre George Taylor, completes the personnel changes to the back division – with Eroni Sau switching wings to accommodate van der Merwe and James Johnstone returning to operate at outside centre.
Young hooker Harrison will combine with props WP Nel (tighthead) and Boan Venter (loosehead) in the front-row, the latter switching places with Pierre Schoeman to complete the starting changes to the pack.
Other notable inclusions feature on the bench where FOSROC Super6 pair Cammy Hutchison (centre, Heriot’s Rugby) and Harri Morris (back-row, Southern Knights) are primed to make their debut from the bench.
Edinburgh Rugby team to play Ulster at BT Murrayfield Stadium
Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup (Saturday 5 June, kick-off 5.15pm)
Unavailable (23): Connor Boyle, Magnus Bradbury, David Cherry, Luke Crosbie, Matt Currie, Andrew Davidson, Andries Ferreira, Dan Gamble, Darcy Graham, Grant Gilchrist, Jamie Hodgson, Damien Hoyland, Nick Haining, Viliame Mata, Ally Miller, Stuart McInally, Dan Nutton, Freddie Owsley, Charlie Savala, Rory Sutherland, Jaco van der Walt, Jordan Venter, Angus Williams.