Five changes for Ulster as McInally set for capital farewell
Edinburgh Rugby make five changes for tomorrow night’s BKT United Rugby Championship final round clash against Ulster at Kingspan Stadium (Friday 21 April, kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Viaplay.
Tighthead prop Luan de Bruin gets the nod up front while lock Glen Young comes into the pack in place of Marshall Sykes who misses out through injury.
In the backline, Cammy Hutchison starts at inside centre in his final appearance for the club. Henry Pyrgos – also featuring in his last fixture for Edinburgh – replaces Ben Vellacott at scrum-half, while Scotland and British & Irish Lions winger Duhan van der Merwe comes in for the injured Damien Hoyland.
The match will also be Stuart McInally’s swansong as it was yesterday announced the club centurion will retire from rugby when his contract finishes this November.
The hometown hooker – who is currently sixth on the club’s all-time appearance list – is named among the replacements and is in line to make his 177th and final appearance for his boyhood club.
Ahead of the clash in Belfast, Head Coach Mike Blair said: “We were really pleased with last weekend’s performance against Ospreys. Our physicality and decision-making was spot on from the first whistle – we’ll need that level of focus once again tomorrow night.
“Ulster are a team in form, who are particularly confident at home. It’s vital we match their physicality while putting down a marker in terms of the way we want to play, which is with freedom, while making smart decisions around the way we attack and defend.
“It will be a special occasion for the guys playing their last game for the club. It adds an extra level of motivation for our squad to put in a performance that properly recognises what those guys have all achieved here.”
Argentine playmaker Emiliano Boffelli continues at full-back as Scotland duo Darcy Graham – twice a try-scorer against Ospreys – and Van der Merwe line up on the wings.
James Lang shifts to 13 with Hutchison named at inside-centre. Pyrgos is paired with stand-off Blair Kinghorn at half-back.
Hooker Dave Cherry – who also crossed the whitewash last weekend – packs down alongside Pierre Schoeman and Luan de Bruin up front as locks Young and Sam Skinner complete the tight-five.
An unchanged back-row sees number 8 Viliame Mata anchor a back-row featuring Scotland pairing Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson.
Edinburgh Rugby team to face Ulster at Kingspan Stadium in the BKT United Rugby Championship
Friday 21 April (kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Viaplay.
15. Emiliano Boffelli (30)
14. Darcy Graham (59)
13. James Lang (38)
12. Cammy Hutchison (19)
11. Duhan van der Merwe (74)
10. Blair Kinghorn (133)
9. Henry Pyrgos (83)
1. Pierre Schoeman (97)
2. Dave Cherry (70)
3. Luan de Bruin (21)
4. Glen Young (21)
5. Sam Skinner (13)
6. Jamie Ritchie (97) CAPTAIN
7. Hamish Watson (139)
8. Viliame Mata (115)
16. Stuart McInally (176)
17. Boan Venter (45)
18. WP Nel (187)
19. Pierce Phillips (14)
20. Connor Boyle (31)
21. Ben Vellacott (38)
22. Mark Bennett (87)
23. Nathan Sweeney (1)
Unavailable: Luke Crosbie, Chris Dean, Grant Gilchrist, Wes Goosen, Nick Haining, Damien Hoyland, Jamie Hodgson, Damien Hoyland, Henry Immelman, Ben Muncaster, Harry Paterson, Marshall Sykes.