Shiel starts as Edinburgh face Blues test
Scrum-half Charlie Shiel is handed his first home start as Edinburgh Rugby make five changes to their starting XV for tomorrow night’s Guinness PRO14 match against Cardiff Blues at BT Murrayfield (kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports
Shiel is selected at half-back alongside a revamped centre pairing that sees George Taylor and James Johnstone named in midfield for the Conference B clash.
The capital club welcome back Scotland internationalists Grant Gilchrist and Jamie Bhatti to the forward pack in the only other alterations to the side that claimed a bonus-point win over Connacht last weekend.
Ahead of the fixture, Head Coach Richard Cockerill, said: “We need to make sure we’re on it. We should be well motivated since we’re on a good run, but we need to make sure we get all the basic things right.
“The weather will be a little bit better than last two weeks, but we need to be really functional and practical in how we play. We just need to go and win the game – do whatever it takes to win.
“I’m not fussy about our style. Substance, physicality and mentality should be 10 out of 10 for us, and we should go out with confidence to make sure we get our performance right.”
An unchanged back-three sees Hoyland continue at fullback with wingers Duhan van der Merwe – a try-scorer in his last five consecutive fixtures – and Eroni Sau once again named on the flanks.
Centres Taylor and Johnstone form all-new midfield pairing, with stand-off Simon Hickey – who contributed 12 points from his boot in last weekend’s win over Connacht – and the aforementioned Shiel combined at half-back.
Prop duo Bhatti and Simon Berghan are released from Scotland’s Guinness Six Nations squad and pack down alongside hooker Mike Willemse in a rotated front-row.
Scotland lock Gilchrist – who skippers the side – links-up with Lewis Carmichael in the second-row, as an unchanged back-row trio sees Nick Haining, Luke Crosbie and Viliame Mata complete the pack.
Edinburgh Rugby team to face Cardiff Blues at BT Murrayfield in the Guinness PRO14
Friday 28 February (kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports
15. Damien Hoyland (73)
14. Eroni Sau (9)
13. James Johnstone (48)
12. George Taylor (19)
11. Duhan van der Merwe (56)
10. Simon Hickey (33)
9. Charlie Shiel (15)
1. Jamie Bhatti (11)
2. Mike Willemse (17)
3. Simon Berghan (77)
4. Lewis Carmichael (44)
5. Grant Gilchrist (147) CAPTAIN
6. Nick Haining (10)
7. Luke Crosbie (38)
8. Viliame Mata (70)
Replacements: 16. Cameron Fenton (19) 17. Pierre Schoeman (39) 18. Pietro Ceccarelli (23) 19. Sam Thomson (7) 20. John Barclay (13) 21 Henry Pyrgos (34) 22. Jaco van der Walt (54) 23. Chris Dean (87)
Unavailable: David Cherry, Mark Bennett, Matt Scott, Jack Blain, Fraser McKenzie, Stan South, Darcy Graham, WP Nel, Rory Sutherland, Stuart McInally, Ben Toolis, Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Magnus Bradbury, Blair Kinghorn