Gilchrist back for knockout clash

Gilchrist back for knockout clash

Scotland internationalist Grant Gilchrist returns to co-captain Edinburgh Rugby for tomorrow night’s EPCR Challenge Cup Round of 16 clash against Bayonne at Hive Stadium (Saturday 6 April, kick-off 8pm) – live on Viaplay.

The lock – who did not feature in the recent two-week tour to South Africa – starts as one of three changes made to the team that faced the Sharks in Durban last weekend.

In the pack, Luan de Bruin is handed his first start of the season at loosehead prop with Pierre Schoeman (concussion), Boan Venter (knee) and Robin Hislop (knee) all unavailable through injury.

With De Bruin handed a starting berth, there is a place among the replacements for academy graduate Mikey Jones. The Lasswade RFC product and Stewart’s Melville College alumnus will make his professional debut if called upon.

Elsewhere, Mark Bennett – who suffered a concussion against DHL Stormers – starts at outside centre having completed graduated return to play protocol. The centurion’s return sees Matt Currie revert to inside centre.

Ahead of the European clash, Head Coach Sean Everitt said: “It’s great to be home after our two-week tour to South Arica and I know the squad are very excited to get back out in front of our home support in Edinburgh.

“We’re getting into the business end of the campaign, so the games come thick and fast, but this is where we want to be as a club, competing for places in the final stages of Europe and the URC.

“We know Bayonne are a top side with threats across the park. We’ve spoken about their pack and the physicality they bring, so we’ll need to be ready from the first whistle. However we have lots of quality too and our team will be relishing the chance to put in a match-winning performance for our supporters.”

An unchanged back-three sees Wes Goosen start at full-back alongside wingers Duhan van der Merwe and Jake Henry.

Scrum-half Ben Vellacott and stand-off Ben Healy combine at half-back for the fourth consecutive match.

Up front, hooker Ewan Ashman packs down alongside props De Bruin and WP Nel, as locks Sam Skinner and Gilchrist form an all-Scotland second-row pairing.

An experienced all-centurion back-row unit of Jamie Ritchie (blindside), Hamish Watson (openside) and Viliame Mata (number 8) completes the pack.

Scotland star and British & Irish Lion Watson put pen-to-paper on a new deal earlier this week that will see the club centurion enter his 14th season in the Scottish capital.

The capital side also welcome the return of Scotland duo Luke Crosbie (back-row) and Ali Price (scrum-half), with both named among the replacements. Crosbie is line to make his first appearance since picking up a shoulder injury for Scotland against Wales in the opening game of the 2024 Guinness Six Nations Championship.


Edinburgh Rugby team to face Bayonne at Hive Stadium in the EPCR Challenge Cup Round of 16
Saturday 6 April (kick-of 8pm) – live on Viaplay

15. Wes Goosen (25)

14. Jake Henry (2)
13. Mark Bennett (101)
12. Matt Currie (32)
11. Duhan van der Merwe (85)

10. Ben Healy (16)
9. Ben Vellacott (54) CO-CAPTAIN

1. Luan de Bruin (24)
2. Ewan Ashman (13)
3. WP Nel (201)
4. Sam Skinner (19)
5. Grant Gilchrist (198) CO-CAPTAIN
6. Jamie Ritchie (107)
7. Hamish Watson (153)
8. Viliame Mata (131)


16. Dave Cherry (86)
17. Mikey Jones*
18. D’Arcy Rae (3)
19. Jamie Hodgson (58)
20. Luke Crosbie (93)
21. Ali Price (10)
22. James Lang (50)
23. Chris Dean (146)

Unavailable: Emiliano Boffelli (back), Darcy Graham (groin), Robin Hislop (knee), Harry Paterson (foot), Scott Steele (hip), Pierre Schoeman (concussion), Nathan Sweeney (groin), Boan Venter (knee), Glen Young (ankle).

*Edinburgh Rugby debut

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