Six changes to face Benetton
Head Coach Richard Cockerill today named six changes to start this Sunday’s Guinness PRO14 match against Benetton Rugby at BT Murrayfield Stadium (7 March, kick-off 3.15pm) – live on Premier Sports.
Two of the changes come as lock Grant Gilchrist and wing Darcy Graham are retained in Scotland’s Guinness Six Nations camp – their places in the line-up filled by Andrew Davidson, who returns from injury, and Jack Blain.
The club does, however, welcome the continued release and return of hooker David Cherry, plus prop Simon Berghan, who takes the replacement tighthead berth.
In the pack, Cherry and back-row Luke Crosbie are promoted from the bench in place of Mike Willemse and the injured Viliame Mata.
Crosbie takes the blindside berth while Nick Haining moves across to number 8. Ally Miller returns to the openside to complete the back-row.
Props Lee-Roy Atalifo and co-captain Pierre Schoeman start in the front-row once again, with Magnus Bradbury back in the boiler house with Davidson, after an impressive, try-scoring performance last weekend.
The remaining changes see a new half-back partnership deployed as young duo Charlie Shiel (scrum-half) and Nathan Chamberlain (stand-off) start in place of Nic Groom - who drops out of the 23 as Henry Pyrgos joins the bench - and the injured Jaco van der Walt.
George Taylor and James Johnstone return to the midfield and Eroni Sau (wing) and co-captain Damien Hoyland (full-back) complete the back-three and starting side.
Notable inclusions on the bench include Mesu Kunavula – who could feature for the first time since making his Test debut for Fiji at the same stadium in December - centre Mark Bennett, who returns from injury to take a place on the bench for what could be his 50th appearance for the club, and stand-off replacement Charlie Savala, who would make his debut if called into action.
Edinburgh Rugby Head Coach, Richard Cockerill, said: “There were a lot of positives to take from our performance against Scarlets last weekend but, unfortunately, there were elements that meant we fell short on the scoreboard at the end.
“This Sunday is another opportunity to continue those improvements and correct some of the elements that came unstuck. We’ve used the eight-day turnaround between these games well to work on our game-plan and execution.
“Benetton are good side that will pose some real physical challenges. They’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain from the foot of the table, which can give teams a renewed sense of confidence and belief, and make them a real threat.
“It’s another opportunity to pull on the Edinburgh shirt and face quality, physical opposition and one we’re looking forward to.”
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Edinburgh Rugby team to play Benetton Rugby at BT Murrayfield Stadium, Guinness PRO14
Sunday 7 March (kick-off 3.15pm) – live on Premier Sports
15. Damien Hoyland CO-CAPTAIN (79)
14. Jack Blain (9)
13. James Johnstone (59)
12. George Taylor (29)
11. Eroni Sau (19)
10. Nathan Chamberlain (6)
9. Charlie Shiel (28)
1. Pierre Schoeman CO-CAPTAIN (58)
2. David Cherry (33)
3. Lee-Roy Atalifo (5)
4. Magnus Bradbury (91)
5. Andrew Davidson (11)
6. Luke Crosbie (50)
7.Ally Miller (21)
8. Nick Haining (20)
16. Mike Willemse (33)
17. Boan Venter (1)
18. Simon Berghan (89)
19. Andries Ferreira (8)
20. Mesu Kunavula (4)
21. Henry Pyrgos (45)
22. Charlie Savala (0)
23. Mark Bennett (49)
Unavailable on Scotland duty (7): Grant Gilchrist, Darcy Graham, Willem Nel, Jamie Ritchie, Rory Sutherland, Duhan van der Merwe, Hamish Watson.