Storylines: Dragons

Storylines: Dragons

Edinburgh Rugby travel to face Dragons at the Principality Stadium this Sunday (kick-off 2pm).

These are the storylines to watch for as we look ahead to kick-off in the Welsh capital.

Half-back experience

Edinburgh are boosted by the return of Scotland international stand-off Jaco can der Walt, who is released from national camp for the trip to the Principality.

Van der Walt has not featured in the capital side's last two match-ups - with Nathan Chamberlain and Charlie Savala both seeing game time - but was in impressive form in his last outing against Scarlets, where he notched up 10 points from his boot and added a try assist.

Featuring alongside Van der Walt is scrum-half Henry Pyrgos, whose experience will be key in leading a young forward pack.

Edinburgh will rely on the excellent kicking of both players for the side's exit strategy and to make sure they are playing rugby in the right areas of the pitch.

Dean and Bennett return

Experienced centres Chris Dean and Mark Bennett also return to the fold and sit outside the half-back axis of Pyrgos and Van der Walt.

Dean has been made to wait for his opportunity with George Taylor returning from injury and enjoying a run of form in the capital midfield, while Bennett has featured from the bench in the team's last two fixtures.

Club centurion Dean offers the capital side some serious go-forward in the 12 channel, while his ability over the ball and back-row-like tenaciousness in defence will provide support to a back-row unit who'll be working over time from the first whistle.

Bennett meanwhile will be focussed on providing that attacking spark if put in space in the wide channels. With the likes of Jack Blain, Eroni Sau and Blair Kinghorn running off his shoulder, there will be no shortage of options in support.

Opportunity knocks for Academy prospects

With 27 players unavailable due to injury and international selection, Head Coach Richard Cockerill names three FOSROC Academy players on the Edinburgh Rugby bench in Shaun Gunn, Patrick Harrison and Matt Currie.

Currie made his professional debut from the bench against Munster last month - only two days before his 20th birthday - but it is a first-ever matchday 23 involvement for Gunn and Harrison who will be champing at the bit to represent the city on Sunday afternoon.

Gunn featured in all 10 of FOSROC Super6 side Southern King's fixtures last season and was involved with Scotland U20 in 2018-19.

Harrison, 18, meanwhile, only joined the club's academy last summer having played senior club rugby at Peebles RFC.

Proud to represent

Edinburgh's two potential debutants - Gunn and Harrison - will have entire communities getting behind them come kick-off on Sunday afternoon.

Peebles native Harrison could become the first player produced by the Borders club to play professional rugby since Graeme Beveridge in the late 90s - whose own pro career also began in the Scottish capital.

Tighthead prop Gunn hails from Wick, Caithness and would no doubt become the first-ever player from the Highland town to appear at professional level.

Two proud Scottish towns at opposite ends of the country will be tuning in to Premier Sports this Sunday afternoon.

A chance to impress

Edinburgh may be unable to reach fourth place in Conference B, however the capital squad will still be desperate to impress with a Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 clash with Racing 92 the following weekend.

There's not a player in the 23 that wont be keen to put their hand up for selection with a mouth watering match-up against the Parisian club on the horizon.

From the Principality Stadium to Paris La Défense Arena, Edinburgh are set to feature at two of world rugby's most famous arenas in the space of seven days.

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