Team named for historic homecoming
Head Coach Mike Blair today named the Edinburgh Rugby side to face Newcastle Falcons in this Saturday’s Scottish Building Society Pre-Season Series, the first-ever game to be played at Edinburgh Rugby Stadium (Saturday 11 September, kick-off 3pm).
The ‘homecoming’ match-up will see Blair take charge of the capital side for the first time since being appointed Head Coach in July, as Edinburgh Rugby celebrate the beginning of a new era of rugby in its first-ever permanent home.
The match also sees fans return to an Edinburgh Rugby match in full numbers for the first time since February 2020 as the capital club continue preparations for the launch of the inaugural United Rugby Championship later this month.
Summer signings Henry Immelman, Ben Vellacott and Luan de Bruin all start the pre-season encounter which sees Blair name a balanced starting XV, skippered by Scotland international David Cherry.
FOSROC Super6 players Daniel Suddon and Patrick Anderson are named among the replacements after an impressive start to the season for the Southern Knights, while a larger 32-man team will allow for squad rotation throughout the pre-season campaign.
Blair said: “This Saturday we celebrate something much bigger than 80 minutes. It’s an exciting moment in Edinburgh Rugby’s history and a fresh start that our supporters, players and everyone connected to the club have been looking forward to.
“As a team, we cannot wait to run out into the ERS for the first time, and to do so in front of our supporters, who’ve waited so patiently for this day through the midst of a pandemic, will be a really special moment.
“We’ve had a really good pre-season so far and the boys have worked incredibly hard to get themselves match ready for this first hit out. This game gives the players the opportunity to put that hard work and effort they’ve given throughout pre-season onto the pitch. They’ve all put in the hard yards during the last few months and now it’s about playing rugby.
“We’re also really pleased to name a number of FOSROC Super6 players in the squad who’ve impressed in the league so far. They’ll have the opportunity to build on those positive performances this weekend.”
New signing Immelman – who joined the club from French Top 14 side Montpellier – is named at full-back, as wingers Jack Blain and Damien Hoyland complete the back-three.
Centres Cammy Hutchison and Mark Bennett link-up in midfield, with scrum-half Vellacott paired with Scotland international Jaco van der Walt at half-back.
South African props Boan Venter and De Bruin pack down alongside hooker Cherry in the front-row, while Jamie Hodgson (23) and Marshall Sykes (21) form a youthful lock pairing.
The back-row sees Magnus Bradbury and Luke Crosbie named at blindside and openside flanker respectively, with Nick Haining selected at number 8.
New recruits Harry Lloyd, Adam McBurney, Pierce Phillips and Ramiro Moyano are all named among the replacements.
Edinburgh Rugby team to face Newcastle Falcons at the ERS
Scottish Building Society Pre-Season Series (Saturday 11 September, kick-off 3pm)
15. Henry Immelman
Substitutes: Pierre Schoeman, Harry Lloyd, Adam McBurney, Patrick Harrison, Lee-Roy Atalifo, Angus Williams, Pierce Phillips, Daniel Suddon, Ben Muncaster, Connor Boyle, Charlie Shiel, Henry Pyrgos, Charlie Savala, Ramiro Moyano, Jordan Venter, James Johnstone, Patrick Anderson
Unavailable due to injury: Matt Currie, Chris Dean, Ben Evans, Darcy Graham, Jake Henry, James Lang, Viliame Mata, Harri Morris, WP Nel, Harry Paterson, Nathan Sweeney, Ben Toolis, George Taylor, Glen Young