Mata hits century as Goosen debuts in Parma
Fijian star Viliame ‘Bill’ Mata will make his 100th Edinburgh Rugby appearance as summer recruit Wes Goosen debuts against Zebre Parma at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi tomorrow afternoon (Saturday 22 October, kick-off 1pm BST) – live on Premier Sports.
Mata becomes the first overseas, non-Scottish qualified player to reach the milestone in the club’s long history and is Edinburgh Rugby’s 37th centurion, joining former capital back-row greats Simon Taylor, Ally Hogg and Roddy Grant in reaching 100 matches.
Goosen – who joined the club from Super Rugby side Hurricanes in the off-season – has been made to wait for his debut due to injury but is named on the wing in a dangerous back-three unit alongside Henry Immelman (full-back) and Emiliano Boffelli (wing).
Centres Chris Dean and Matt Currie form a revamped midfield pairing with Jaco van der Walt (stand-off) and Charlie Shiel (scrum-half) selected at half-back.
A new front-row combination sees hooker Adam McBurney make his first start of the season alongside props Boan Venter (loosehead) and Luan de Bruin (tighthead).
Scotland international locks Sam Skinner and Jamie Hodgson complete the tight-five.
Mata anchors an unchanged back-row as Luke Crosbie (openside) – named captain for the trip to Parma – and Nick Haining (blindside) start on opposite flanks.
Ahead of the fixture, Head Coach Mike Blair, said: “We’re delighted to see Bill make his 100th appearance for the club and the guys will be determined to put in a performance that reflects the occasion.
“It’ll be a proud moment for Bill and his family as he becomes the first overseas, non-Scottish qualified player to reach the milestone in Edinburgh Rugby history and we’ve talked a lot this week around using that emotion and pride in Bill as catalyst come game time.
“A number of players who’ve not been involved in recent weeks get their opportunity and they’re champing at the bit to make an impact.
“Zebre have been really impressive so far this season and are always a tough match-up at home, so we’ll need to be on it both mentally and physically from the first whistle.”
Edinburgh Rugby team to face Zebre Parma at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi in the BKT United Rugby Championship
Saturday 22 October (kick-off 1pm BST / 2pm local) – live on Premier Sports
15. Henry Immelman (20)
14. Wes Goosen*
13. Matt Currie (14)
12. Chris Dean (125)
11. Emiliano Boffelli (20)
10. Jaco van der Walt (90)
9.Charlie Shiel (46)
1. Boan Venter (30)
2. Adam McBurney (15)
3. Luan de Bruin (12)
4. Jamie Hodgson (42)
5. Sam Skinner (4)
6. Nick Haining (28)
7. Luke Crosbie (73) CAPTAIN
8. Viliame Mata (99)
16. Patrick Harrison (4)
17. Nick Auterac*
18. Angus Williams (13)
19. Pierce Phillips (12)
20. Ben Muncaster (19)
21. Henry Pyrgos (75)
22. Charlie Savala (16)
23. Damien Hoyland (97)
Unavailable: Cammy Hutchison, James Lang, Stuart McInally, Marshall Sykes, Ben Vellacott.
International selection: Mark Bennett, Dave Cherry, Grant Gilchrist, Darcy Graham, Blair Kinghorn, WP Nel, Jamie Ritchie, Pierre Schoeman, Duhan van der Merwe, Hamish Watson.
*Edinburgh Rugby debut