NEWS | Four in line for debut as Edinburgh face Ospreys

Head Coach Richard Cockerill has named four debutants in the starting XV for tomorrow night’s Guinness PRO14 opener against Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium (kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports 2.

Summer recruits Henry Pyrgos and Simon Hickey are selected at half-back, whilst recent signings Pierre Schoeman and Luke Hamilton are named at loosehead prop and blindside flanker respectively.

Elsewhere, Matt Scott - who this summer re-joined the club from Gloucester following two seasons in the English Premiership – gets the nod at inside-centre and anchors a backline featuring 101 Scotland caps.

On his selection, Cockerill, said: “We’ve named an experienced outfit, which we believe has the mentality and toughness to compete against a combative Ospreys side.

“It’s imperative that we lay down an early marker in the championship. We are prepared as we possibly can and will travel to Wales with confidence.

“It’s a very good side the Ospreys have put out, and we’ll have to be at our best to beat them.

"We’ll go down there and put our best game out on the field and with the mindset to play good rugby and be physically very good – and to go there to win.

"I don’t think we’ve won down there since 2011, so history isn’t looking good for us,” he said. “It’s a game they need to win though, isn’t it? Edinburgh are coming to their place, the first game of the season."

Blair Kinghorn returns to action at full-back following a breakout Summer Tour in the dark blue of Scotland. The 21-year-old starts alongside Dougie Fife and last season’s top try scorer, Duhan van der Merwe.

Mark Bennett is named at outside-centre alongside the aforementioned Scott.

Club captain Stuart McInally is named at hooker and packs down alongside Schoeman and Simon Berghan - who makes his 50th appearance for the club. Locks Grant Gilchrist and Ben Toolis are selected in the boiler room.

Scotland star Hamish Watson is named at openside flanker and makes his first league appearance since undergoing season-ending surgery in April. Hamilton and Fijian international Bill Mata complete the back-row.

 

Edinburgh team to face Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium in the Guinness PRO14 on Friday 31 August (kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports 2

 

15. Blair Kinghorn (64)

 

14. Dougie Fife (107)

13. Mark Bennett (12)

12. Matt Scott (74)

11. Duhan van der Merwe (18)

 

10. Simon Hickey*

9. Henry Pyrgos*

 

1. Pierre Schoeman*

2. Stuart McInally (120) CAPTAIN

3. Simon Berghan (49)

4. Ben Toolis (88)

5. Grant Gilchrist (120)

6. Luke Hamilton*

7. Hamish Watson (82)

8. Bill Mata (37)

 

Replacements: 16. Ross Ford (179); 17. Allan Dell (44); 18. Murray McCallum (38); 19. Fraser McKenzie (100); 20. Jamie Ritchie (48); 21. Sean Kennedy (60); 22. Jaco van der Walt (17); 23. James Johnstone (18)

 

•Edinburgh competitive debut