Scotland trio return to start
Edinburgh Rugby welcome the return of three players from Scotland’s Six Nations camp to start against Munster at BT Murrayfield Stadium tomorrow night (kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports.
Hooker David Cherry – who made his Test debut in the national side’s Calcutta Cup win over England at Twickenham – second-row stalwart and co-captain Grant Gilchrist and stand-off Jaco van der Walt will all start the Guinness PRO14 clash following their fallow week release from the international championship.
Their availability and selection in the absence of last weekend’s postponed match against Dragons means there are just four changes to the side which last ran out in victory over Zebre in Parma at the end of last month.
Lock Andrew Davidson replaces the injured Jamie Hodgson, while Fijian international tight-head Lee-Roy Atalifo and Scotland back-row Nick Haining come in for the recently re-signed WP Nel and Hamish Watson, who have been retained by the national team.
The return of loosehead prop Pierre Schoeman, back-row Luke Crosbie (on the openside flank to accommodate Haining) and number 8 Viliame Mata completes the pack.
The side is also buoyed by the return of Scotland capped back Damien Hoyland, who replaces injured full-back Blair Kinghorn.
Hoyland was due to return last week against Dragons – having marked his return to rugby with a try-scoring appearance in the recent Edinburgh A match – meaning tomorrow will be his first competitive appearance for the club since October.
The former Boroughmuir man is the only change to the back division that faced Zebre and will join Jack Blain and Eroni Sau in the back-three, with Mark Bennett and Chris Dean named in midfield and co-captain and scrum-half Henry Pyrgos back to join van der Walt at half-back.
On the bench FOSROC Academy centre Matt Currie (Watsonians Rugby) and recently recruited prop, Boan Venter, could make their club debut if called into action. The pair replace the suspended George Taylor and Sam Grahamslaw.
Murray McCallum – another to return to fitness in the recent A-game – replaces Simon Berghan, who remains in national team camp, back-row Ally Miller takes the bench spot vacated by the promoted Haining and scrum-half Charlie Shiel is another to be released from Scotland camp and joins the replacements.
Edinburgh Rugby Head Coach, Richard Cockerill, said: “We’re pleased to welcome a number of players back from injury and Scotland duty into the side this week, which adds some extra firepower for a hugely important fixture.
“Tomorrow’s match is the first of three huge home games on the bounce for us, so we’ll be going out there to put a marker down and continue our climb of the table in order to secure a seat at the top table of European Cup competition next season.
“It’ll be a big challenge against the Conference leaders, who have lost only two games this season, but it’s one I know the players are really looking forward to and is a challenge they’re highly motivated by.”
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Edinburgh Rugby team to play Munster at BT Murrayfield in the Guinness PRO14
Saturday 20 February (kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports
15. Damien Hoyland (77)
14. Jack Blain (8)
13. Mark Bennett (48)
12. Chris Dean (103)
11. Eroni Sau (17)
10. Jaco van der Walt (67)
9. Henry Pyrgos CO-CAPTAIN (44)
1.Pierre Schoeman (56)
2. David Cherry (31)
3. Lee-Roy Atalifo (3)
4. Andrew Davidson (10)
5. Grant Gilchrist CO-CAPTAIN (155)
6. Nick Haining (18)
7. Luke Crosbie (48)
8. Viliame Mata (81)
16. Mike Willemse (31)
17. Boan Venter (0)
18. Murray McCallum (58)
19. Magnus Bradbury (89)
20. Ally Miller (19)
21. Charlie Shiel (26)
22. Nathan Chamberlain (6)
23. Matt Currie (0)
Unavailable through international selection (8): Simon Berghan, Rory Darge, Willem Nel, Jamie Ritchie, Rory Sutherland, George Taylor*, Duhan van der Merwe, Hamish Watson.
* Currently serving three-match suspension