Co-captains back for Castres clash

Co-captains back for Castres clash

Scotland internationalists and co-captains Grant Gilchrist and Jamie Ritchie return for Edinburgh Rugby’s Heineken Champions Cup match against Castres Olympique at Stade Pierre-Fabre this Sunday (15 January, kick-off 1pm GMT/2pm local) – live on BT Sport.

The duo return as two of eight changes to the side that claimed a bonus-point victory against Zebre Parma last weekend as Henry Immelman (full-back), Emiliano Boffelli (wing), Pierre Schoeman (loosehead), Luan de Bruin (tighthead), Marshall Sykes (lock) and Viliame Mata (number 8) all start in Castres.

The encounter is Edinburgh Rugby’s third-ever visit to Stade Pierre-Fabre (2008, 2010, 2023) with the 6-13 victory in October 2008 the capital club’s first-ever Heineken Champions Cup victory on French soil.

Ahead of the match, Head Coach Mike Blair said: “There’s often a different buzz around the club when European rugby returns and we’ve felt that in training this week. There’s been a brilliant energy and guys are really excited to take on Castres in their own backyard.

“Castres are a quality outfit and their proud home record is well documented. I was lucky enough to play in the club’s win at Stade Pierre-Fabre back in 2008 alongside our Head of Strength & Conditioning, Mark Robertson. It was a team performance filled with guts and determination – we’ll need that again from 1-23 this Sunday.

“We’ve spoken a lot this week around Edinburgh’s history and tradition in the Champions Cup – it’s a competition that we really enjoy playing in. I want our players to express themselves in France, while fronting up to the physical challenge of a Castres side who will be energised by their home support.”

In the back-three, Immelman returns from injury to start at full-back with Boffelli and Blair Kinghorn selected on opposite wings.

An unchanged midfield sees Cammy Hutchison and Mark Bennett combine in the centres as Charlie Savala (stand-off) and Charlie Shiel (scrum-half) once against start at half-back.

Hooker Dave Cherry packs down alongside Schoeman and De Bruin up front as locks Sykes and Gilchrist complete the tight-five.

In the back-row, Sam Skinner moves to blindside flanker alongside Ritchie – with Luke Crosbie missing out through injury – as number 8 Mata once again anchors the pack.


Edinburgh Rugby team to face Castres Olympique at Stade Pierre-Fabre in the Heineken Champions Cup
Sunday 15 January (kick-off 1pm GMT/ 2pm local) – live on BT Sport

15. Henry Immelman (22)

14. Emiliano Boffelli (26)
13. Mark Bennett (79)
12. Cammy Hutchison (16)
11. Blair Kinghorn (128)

10. Charlie Savala (23)
9. Charlie Shiel (51)

1. Pierre Schoeman (93)
2. Dave Cherry (63)
3. Luan de Bruin (17)
4. Marshall Sykes (34)
5. Grant Gilchrist (184) CO-CAPTAIN
6. Sam Skinner (7)
7. Jamie Ritchie (93) CO-CAPTAIN
8. Viliame Mata (107)


16. Paddy Harrison (11)
17. Boan Venter (39)
18. WP Nel (182)
19. Jamie Hodgson (48)
20. Nick Haining (31)
21. Ben Vellacott (30)
22. Cammy Scott (2)
23. Jack Blain (22)


Unavailable: Luke Crosbie, Matt Currie, Chris Dean, Wes Goosen, Darcy Graham, Damien Hoyland, James Lang, Stuart McInally, Ben Muncaster, Harry Paterson, Pierce Phillips, Duhan van der Merwe, Hamish Watson, Angus Williams.

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