NEWS | Scotland stars return for Benetton battle

Head Coach Richard Cockerill has named a full-strength side ahead of tomorrow night’s crucial Guinness PRO14 encounter against Benetton at BT Murrayfield (Friday 28 September, kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports.

Eight international stars return to the starting XV, with nine changes in total to the team that faced Leinster in Dublin last weekend.

In the backline, Scotland caps Blair Kinghorn, Matt Scott and Henry Pyrgos are all reinstated, while former New Zealand U20 captain Simon Hickey gets the nod at stand-off following a replacement appearance from the bench at the RDS Arena last weekend.

In the pack, captain Stuart McInally returns at hooker alongside experienced tighthead prop, WP Nel.  Grant Gilchrist makes his fourth appearance of the season in the second-row, while Hamish Watson and Fijian internationalist, Bill Mata – who missed the last two fixtures due to injury – feature in the back-row.

On facing Benetton, Cockerill, said: “If you have any ambition to be competing, then you obviously want to win your home games. We’ve had three away matches and certainly could have gotten more points out of Ospreys and Ulster, but we didn’t. However, they are clearly tough places to go.

“Benetton were good last year and are much improved. They’ve had a very good start to this year, but we feel like we’re playing pretty well. We’ve got a lot of confidence in the team and we’re driven to win at the weekend.

“If we put together the performances from the last three weeks, we’ll certainly get points out of the next few games. I’ve got every confidence in this group of players.”

Kinghorn is joined in the back-three by wingers Dougie Fife and Duhan van der Merwe - with the latter grabbing a score in Edinburgh’s victory over Connacht at BT Murrayfield a fortnight ago.

Scott is partnered in midfield by Chris Dean, who after returning from injury against Leinster last weekend, makes his second appearance of the season. Summer recruits Pyrgos and Hickey are restored at half-back.

Up front, Allan Dell continues at loosehead and will pack down alongside Scotland teammates McInally and Nel. Gilchrist is joined in the boiler room by Ben Toolis, while Watson, Mata and Magnus Bradbury – a try-scorer in last weekend’s defeat to Leinster – form the back-row.

 

Edinburgh team to face Benetton Rugby at BT Murrayfield in the Guinness PRO14 tomorrow (Friday 28 September, kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports.

 

15. Blair Kinghorn (67)

 

14. Dougie Fife (111)

13. Chris Dean (67)

12. Matt Scott (77)

11. Duhan van der Merwe (21)

 

10. Simon Hickey (3)

9. Henry Pyrgos (3)

 

1. Allan Dell (48)

2. Stuart McInally (123) CAPTAIN

3. WP Nel (118)

4. Ben Toolis (92)

5. Grant Gilchrist (123)

6. Magnus Bradbury (55)

7. Hamish Watson (84)

8. Bill Mata (39)

 

Replacements: 16. Ross Ford (182); 17. Rory Sutherland (63); 18. Murray McCallum (41); 19. Fraser McKenzie (104); 20. Jamie Ritchie (52); 21. Nathan Fowles (60); 22. Jaco van der Walt (20); 23. Juan Pablo Socino (2).