Storylines: Racing 92

Storylines: Racing 92

Edinburgh Rugby face Racing 92 this afternoon (kick-off 12.30pm) in a can't miss Champions Cup Round of 16 clash in Paris.

These are the storylines to watch for as we look ahead to kick-off at Paris La Défense Arena:

Kinghorn handed the reins

Blair Kinghorn will wear the No.10 jersey in perhaps the most surprising selection of this weekend's starting XV.

It is only Kinghorn's second start at stand-off for the capital club, with his other appearance coming against Krasny Yar during the 2018-19 season.

Kinghorn has shown flashes of brilliance in the club's last two outings, having been shifted to No.10 on both occasions.

A scintillating open field runner, Kinghorn will no doubt look to get the line moving early, while his offloading abilities will keep the Racing 92 defence honest at all times.

On Kinghorn's selection, Head Coach Richard Cockerill, said: "Ball in hand he’s a threat, he’s very off-the-cuff and creates opportunities because he’s naturally instinctive and very quick.

“Obviously the game control side is lacking a bit because it’s not his natural position. But I thought it was the right decision for this week all things considered.

“It’s a bold selection but one that’s very much worth the risk."

Scotland men return

Edinburgh welcome back their cohort of Scotland internationalists for this afternoon's knockout clash in Paris.

Wingers Duhan van der Merwe and Darcy Graham, and forwards Dave Cherry, WP Nel, Grant Gilchrist, Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson go straight in to the starting line-up having all started in the Guinness Six Nations win over France last weekend.

It is a welcome boost for Head Coach Richard Cockerill who hasn't been able to deploy his Scotland stars since January.

The internationalists will no doubt still be riding high following their Parisian heroics - let's hope they can keep that momentum going as they return to the French capital.

That man Watson

Hamish Watson enjoyed a spectacular Guinness Six Nations campaign and the back-row star was rewarded for his fine form on Friday when he was named Player of the Championship.

It was just reward for Watson who has taken his own game to the next level in the last year and he is now earning recognition from fans and pundits throughout world rugby.

Watson has another opportunity to showcase his skills on an equally as grand stage this afternoon where he will go up against Racing 92's star-studded pack, who are used to bossing it, especially at home.

Like his Scotland clubmates, Watson will be desperate to keep that international momentum going and push his side to a Champions Cup Quarter-Final appearance.

Schoeman is back

Edinburgh are handed a further boost with the return of influential loose head prop, Pierre Schoeman.

The front-row star has made a speedy return from injury to lead his side up front, with Schoeman previously expected to miss four-six weeks with a knee injury suffered in the victory over Connacht.

Schoeman has made it back in just three weeks however, with full credit going to both Schoeman and the Edinburgh Rugby medical team, for their hard work during the rehab process.

The loose head is a true big game player and will be desperate to make his mark on European rugby's biggest stage.

On the road

Edinburgh can take take real encouragement out of one particular stat that was shared in the build-up to this afternoon's clash:

Edinburgh have won their last three away games in the Heineken Champions Cup, their best ever streak, and as many victories as they had managed in their previous 18 games on the road.

The capital side are not scared to play rugby on the road and have often saved their best moments for away day encounters.

Think Bill Mata's offload in Toulon. Duhan van der Merwe's winner in Newcastle. Jaco van der Walt's kicking display against Sale Sharks.

Edinburgh will be hoping to continue that streak and secure another famous road victory this afternoon.

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