Team named for Ospreys opener
The Edinburgh Rugby team to face Ospreys at BT Murrayfield in tomorrow night’s 2020-21 Guinness PRO14 season opener has today been named by Head Coach Richard Cockerill (Saturday 3 October, kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports.
With a number of key players injured and unavailable, the capital side are forced to reshuffle their squad, with six changes to the side that faced Bordeaux Bègles in last month’s Challenge Cup Quarter-Final.
In the back-three, Blair Kinghorn and Duhan van der Merwe both miss out through injury and are replaced by Damien Hoyland and Jamie Farndale at fullback and wing respectively.
Meanwhile, a reshuffled back-row sees Nick Haining, Magnus Bradbury and Luke Crosbie all handed Round 1 starts with Viliame Mata and Jamie Ritchie unavailable.
Now back fully fit, Scotland internationalists Mark Bennett and WP Nel both return to the matchday 23 after missing out on the Quarter-Final test in Bordeaux two weeks ago.
Ahead of the season opener, Head Coach Richard Cockerill, said: “We’ve had a little bit of downtime, but we’ve been back in this week and trained well in preparation for the new season.
“We've had some pretty good preparation. Glasgow twice, Ulster and Bordeaux – that's the toughest pre-season we've played. We've got to use that experience and we’ll look to put our best team on the field and go try to get as many points as we can.
“We'll be well prepped and we’ve got a good record at BT Murrayfield. We want to get off to a good start at home.”
On the aforementioned Ritchie - who is unavailable for selection in order to comply with the necessary Scottish Government Covid-19 isolation protocols and to protect the medical integrity of the wider squad – Cockerill, said:
“Jamie misses out this week as he’s been in contact with a family member who is currently self-isolating due to a potential contact. He hasn’t tested positive, but we’re being extra cautious and following all the necessary Scottish Government Covid-19 protocols.”
In the back-three, Hoyland and Farndale are named at fullback and wing as Scotland star Darcy Graham retains his place on the opposite flank.
A refreshed centre pairing sees Bennett return from injury to partner Chris Dean in midfield, while scrum-half Charlie Shiel and stand-off Jaco van der Walt continue at half-back.
Captain and hooker Stuart McInally packs down alongside props Pierre Schoeman and Simon Berghan in an unchanged front-row, while Scotland locks Grant Gilchrist and Ben Toolis continue in the second-row.
No.8 Haining anchors a new-look back-row that sees flankers Bradbury and Crosbie complete the pack.
Edinburgh Rugby team to face Ospreys at BT Murrayfield in the Guinness PRO14
Saturday 3 October (kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports
15. Damien Hoyland (75)
14. Darcy Graham (33)
13. Mark Bennett (38)
12. Chris Dean (92)
11. Jamie Farndale (7)
10. Jaco van der Walt (58)
9. Charlie Shiel (20)
1. Pierre Schoeman (44)
2. Stuart McInally (146) CAPTAIN
3. Simon Berghan (82)
4. Ben Toolis (121)
5. Grant Gilchrist (151)
6. Magnus Bradbury (78)
7. Luke Crosbie (41)
8. Nick Haining (14)
Replacements: 16. David Cherry (22) 17. Jamie Bhatti (12) 18. WP Nel (142) 19. Andrew Davidson (3) 20. Hamish Watson (111) 21. Dan Nutton (1) 22. Nathan Chamberlain (2) 23. George Taylor (23)
Unavailable due to injury: Rory Sutherland, Matt Gordon, Blair Kinghorn, Nic Groom, Duhan van der Merwe, Henry Prygos, Viliame Mata, Fraser McKenzie
Jamie Ritchie is unavailable for selection for the upcoming game in order to comply with the necessary Scottish Government Covid-19 isolation protocols and to protect the medical integrity of the wider squad.