Storylines: Connacht

Storylines: Connacht

Richard Cockerill's side face Connacht in Galway this Saturday night in the first of three consecutive away fixtures.

These are the storylines to look out for as we look ahead to the 7.35pm kick-off at The Sportsground.


Chance for Chamberlain

Young fly-half Nathan Chamberlain was in line to start last weekend's postponed Benetton match-up, and the 20-year-old gets another opportunity in the No.10 jersey this Saturday night.

This will be Chamberlain's fifth start for the capital side and first appearance since facing Ulster back in November.

The former Scotland U20 stand-off has had to wait patiently for his chance to shine - with experienced playmaker Jaco van der Walt the clear starter at 10 - but has an excellent opportunity to showcase why he was rated so highly at age-grade level this Saturday night.

With livewire scrum-half Charlie Shiel playing inside him, and hard running centre George Taylor on his outside, Chamberlain's supporting cast will play a pivotal role in guiding him through the game.



Mata back in action

Fijian international and former Guinness PRO14 Player's Player of the Season Bill Mata returns to the starting line-up after missing last week's postponed Benetton fixture through injury.

The back-row talisman took a while to get going after returning from ankle surgery in November, but has been in seriously impressive form since, consistently topping the team's carries and tackles charts.

Expect Mata to be involved from the get-go on Saturday night - the big Fijian will be raring to go after a few weeks without rugby.

Three year wait

This will be Edinburgh Rugby's first trip to Galway since March 2018 - a match that saw Dougie Fife cross the whitewash after just 10 seconds, setting a PRO14 record for fastest try.

The capital side battled to 22-29 victory on that occasion and how they'd love to see that scoreline come full-time on Saturday night.

Just three players from 2018 - Bill Mata, Magnus Bradbury and Mark Bennett - are involved this weekend in a match that could have major implications on European qualification.


Debutants

Edinburgh Rugby name three debutants on the bench for Saturday night's clash in Galway.

Ayrshire Bulls Hooker Sam Kitchen - who finished as FOSROC Super6 top try-scorer in 2019-20 - and Watsonians tighthead Angus Williams should both see game time in the front-row, while stand-off Charlie Savala is again selected among the replacements.

Savala - who impressed in last month's 'A' match-up with Glasgow Warriors - made the move from Australian Rugby League side Sydney Roosters last October.

Born in Sydney, Savala qualifies for Scotland through his Ayr-born father, while his grandmother still lived in Ayr until moving to Australia this year.


Back-to-back

Surprisingly, Connacht will be hoping to win back-to-back matches at The Sportsground for the first time in nearly 18 months.

Alex Wootton scored two tries at Murrayfield back in October as Connacht secured a 37-26 bonus-point victory against an inexperienced Edinburgh side shorn of 17 players because of international call-ups or injury.

Richard Cockerill’s men are fifth in the table, six points behind Cardiff Blues with two games in hand, and they will be looking to arrest a six-match losing run against Irish provinces.

Despite defeat to Connacht almost five months ago, Edinburgh won their previous three matches against Saturday’s opponents, including a 41-14 victory at Murrayfield just over a year ago.

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