Cockerill sticks with winning formula for Montpellier test.
Head coach Richard Cockerill has named an unchanged side for tomorrow night’s winner-takes-all encounter with French galacticos Montpellier in the Heineken Champions Cup at BT Murrayfield (Friday 18 January, kick-off 7.45pm).
Victory would secure what would be the capital side’s first appearance in the knock-out stages of Europe’s premier club rugby competition since 2012. A win would also maintain the team’s unbeaten home record so far this season and extend the club’s winning run to seven games in all competitions.
Should the city’s rugby community turn out in force, then the match could be played out in front of the biggest attendance ever recorded for a European pool match in Scotland.
Adult ticket prices increase by £5 from midnight on Thursday, so supporters are encouraged to secure their tickets today in order to beat the queues and save on matchday prices.
Ahead of the momentous fixture, Head Coach Richard Cockerill, said: “We’ve given ourselves the opportunity to finish top of the group and to be at home in the quarter-finals, so I want us to take that opportunity.
“We’re going to go out there, gumshields in, sleeves rolled up and we’re going to get in the middle of it and see where we get to.
“All the pressure will be on them – they’re the A-listers. They’ve won one of their last 13 away European games and that was at Glasgow, but they’ll have expectations to get out of this group.
“I’m going to back ourselves however. They’ve got some great coaches and world class players, but we’re going to do everything we can to win on Friday night, and I believe we can do it if we get it right.”
Cockerill has stuck with the same side that recorded an historic win over Toulon at the Stade Mayol last weekend.
The matchday 23 contains all 12 Edinburgh players named this week in Gregor Townsend’s Scotland squad for the forthcoming Guinness Six Nations.
Try scorers in the South of France last weekend – wing Darcy Graham, fullback Blair Kinghorn and centre James Johnstone – form the spine of a back division that also includes Scotland call-up Chris Dean and South African duo Duhan van der Merwe and Jaco van der Walt. Henry Pyrgos once again partners van der Walt at scrum-half.
Captain Stuart McInally packs down in a formidable front row alongside props Pierre Schoeman and WP Nel, whilst Ben Toolis and Grant Gilchrist continue their partnership in the second row.
Offload kings Bill Mata and Jamie Ritchie are named in the back-row along with the relentless Hamish Watson.
Edinburgh team to play Montpellier in the Heineken Champions Cup at BT Murrayfield on Friday 18 January (kick-off 7.45pm) – live on BT Sport
15 Blair Kinghorn (76)
14 Darcy Graham (17)
13 James Johnstone (33)
12 Chris Dean (79)
11 Duhan van der Merwe (33)
10 Jaco van der Walt (30)
9 Henry Pyrgos (15)
1 Pierre Schoeman (13)
2 Stuart McInally (132) CAPTAIN
3 WP Nel (127)
4 Ben Toolis (102)
5 Grant Gilchrist (132)
6 Jamie Ritchie (60)
7 Hamish Watson (93)
8 Bill Mata (51)
Substitutes: 16 David Cherry (11), 17 Allan Dell (56), 18 Simon Berghan (61), 19 Fraser McKenzie (107), 20 Luke Crosbie (21), 21 Nathan Fowles (67), 22 Simon Hickey (14), 23 Juan Pablo Socino (13)
Unavailable due to injury: Pietro Ceccarelli, Rory Sutherland, Lewis Carmichael, John Barclay, Magnus Bradbury, Senitiki Nayalo, Luke Hamilton, Matt Scott, Mark Bennett, Damien Hoyland