Crosbie and Lang return for Saracens
Edinburgh Rugby welcome the return of Scotland internationalists Luke Crosbie and James Lang for this Sunday’s decisive Heineken Champions Cup match against Saracens at DAM Health Stadium (22 January, kick-off 5.30pm) – live on BT Sport.
Both players are once again fit (concussion) having completed the graduated return-to-play protocol this week and join fellow Scotland cap Ben Vellacott – who starts at scrum-half – in the only changes to the XV that claimed a bonus-point win against Castres Olympique last Sunday.
Both sides have already secured their place in the knockout stages but head into Sunday’s contest knowing a win could guarantee a top-four position in Pool A, and thus a home Round of 16 tie (w/o 31 March).
DAM Health Stadium is all but sold-out for this can’t-miss European clash, with only a small number of single seats available in the 7,774 capacity ground. The club expects to announce a full house later today.
Ahead of the match, Head Coach Mike Blair said: “Games like this are why we’re all involved in professional rugby. A massive European tie against English giants, a sold-out home crowd and the prospect of securing home advantage in the knockout stages.
“As I mentioned earlier in the week, it’s amazing the difference a win can make. Claiming all five points in Castres was a brilliant result for us and it’s acted as a catalyst for a really strong training week.
“A win like that focuses the mind a little bit more and there’s been a buzz around the squad as we prepare to take on a quality Saracens side who are full of confidence at the moment.
“To have a sold-out DAM Health Stadium behind us will be absolutely massive and I’m sure our supporters will back us from first minute to last, as they have done all season.”
An unchanged back-three sees Henry Immleman continue at full-back with Blair Kinghorn and Jack Blain selected on the wings.
Lang returns to partner Mark Bennett in midfield as Vellacott combines with stand-off Charlie Savala at half-back.
An unchanged front-row sees hooker Dave Cherry – who this week penned a new two-year deal with the club – pack down alongside Scotland props WP Nel and Pierre Schoeman.
Sam Skinner returns to his more familiar position of lock, having started on the blindside last weekend, with co-captain Grant Gilchrist retaining his place in the second-row to complete the tight-five.
Jamie Ritchie (openside flanker) – named Scotland captain for the upcoming Six Nations Championship earlier this week – and Viliame Mata (number 8) continue in the back-row alongside the returning Crosbie.
On the bench, Adam McBurney (hooker) and Wes Goosen (back-three) both return from injury to be involved in the 23, while lock Jamie Hodgson could make his 50th appearance if called upon.
Edinburgh Rugby team to face Saracens at DAM Health Stadium in the Heineken Champions Cup
Sunday 22 January (kick-off 5.30pm) – live on BT Sport
15. Henry Immelman (23)
14. Jack Blain (23)
13. Mark Bennett (80)
12. James Lang (31)
11. Blair Kinghorn (129)
10. Charlie Savala (24)
9. Ben Vellacott (31)
1. Pierre Schoeman (94)
2. Dave Cherry (64)
3. WP Nel (183)
4. Sam Skinner (8)
5. Grant Gilchrist (185) CO-CAPTAIN
6. Jamie Ritchie (94) CO-CAPTAIN
7. Luke Crosbie (81)
8. Viliame Mata (108)
16. Adam McBurney (17)
17. Boan Venter (39)
18. Lee-Roy Atalifo (28)
19. Jamie Hodgson (49)
20. Nick Haining (32)
21. Henry Pyrgos (79)
22. Cammy Hutchison (17)
23. Wes Goosen (6)
Unavailable: Emiliano Boffelli, Luan de Bruin, Matt Currie, Chris Dean, Darcy Graham, Patrick Harrison, Damien Hoyland, Stuart McInally, Harry Paterson, Pierce Phillips, Duhan van der Merwe, Hamish Watson, Angus Williams.