Three changes for Castres clash
Edinburgh Rugby have made three changes for tomorrow afternoon’s Heineken Champions Cup clash against Castres Olympique at DAM Health Stadium (17 December, kick-off 1pm) – live on BT Sport.
Outside centre Matt Currie takes the place of Mark Bennett who remains in the graduated return to play protocol.
Club centurion and Scotland internationalist WP Nel gets the nod at tighthead prop, while lock Glen Young returns to the starting XV in place of Jamie Hodgson.
Saturday’s match-up is the first Heineken Champions Cup fixture to be hosted at DAM Health Stadium and sees Edinburgh Rugby return to the top table of European rugby for the first time since 2020/21.
Mike Blair’s squad will be looking to bounce back following last Sunday’s narrow opening round loss (30-26) to Saracens, which saw Edinburgh fall just short in a pulsating contest in North London.
Ahead of the fixture, Blair said: “We have spoken a lot this week about maintaining the standards set in last weekend’s match with Saracens.
“Defensively, it was probably our best shift of the season so far, and I thought we were excellent in and around the breakdown where we battled for everything.
“Champions Cup rugby is like Test match rugby, so we need those levels of fight and intensity for the full 80 minutes this weekend as we take on a quality Castres side who were runners-up in last season’s Top 14.
“It’s really exciting to bring Champions Cup rugby back to Edinburgh and we’re anticipating a brilliant atmosphere from our fans come kick-off on Saturday.”
An unchanged back-three see Argentine international Emiliano Boffelli – who notched up 16 points from the tee against Saracens – continue at full-back with Wes Goosen and Duhan van der Merwe selected on opposite wings.
Inside centre James Lang links up with Currie in midfield, while Blair Kinghorn (stand-off) and Ben Vellacott (scrum-half) once again combine at half-back.
Hooker Stuart McInally packs down alongside props Pierre Schoeman (loosehead) and Nel up front, as club co-captain Grant Gilchrist and Young are paired in the second-row.
Fijian international number 8 Viliame Mata anchors an unchanged back-row which sees flankers Jamie Ritchie (blindside) and Luke Crosbie (openside) complete the pack.
On the bench, Charlie Shiel could make his 50th appearance if called upon, while club centurion Chris Dean returns from injury to be named as a replacement.
Edinburgh Rugby team to face Castres Olympique at DAM Health Stadium in the Heineken Champions Cup
Saturday 17 December (kick-off 1pm) – live on BT Sport
15. Emiliano Boffelli (23)
14. Wes Goosen (5)
13. Matt Currie (17)
12. James Lang (27)
11. Duhan van der Merwe (70)
10. Blair Kinghorn (125)
9. Ben Vellacott (27)
1. Pierre Schoeman (90)
2. Stuart McInally (171)
3. WP Nel (179)
4. Glen Young (16)
5. Grant Gilchrist (181)
6. Jamie Ritchie (90)
7. Luke Crosbie (78)
8. Viliame Mata (103)
16. Tom Cruse (1)
17. Boan Venter (35)
18. Angus Williams (16)
19. Marshall Sykes (30)
20. Ben Muncaster (23)
21. Charlie Shiel (49)
22. Charlie Savala (19)
23. Chris Dean (129)
Unavailable: Mark Bennett, Dave Cherry, Darcy Graham, Nick Haining, Cammy Hutchison, Henry Immelman, Adam McBurney, Sam Skinner, Hamish Watson.