Rivalry in focus: Front-row
With the 150th anniversary 1872 Cup clash against Glasgow Warriors at BT Murrayfield fast approaching (30 December, kick-off 7.35pm), we’re taking a closer look at the positional groups from both sides of the M8 as Scotland’s international stars come together for the Autumn Nations Series.
With the likes of loosehead star Pierre Schoeman and Warriors’ British and Irish Lion Zander Fagerson linking up in Scotland’s front-row, we analyse the big men from both sides of the rivalry that could lock horns in world rugby’s oldest intercity derby this December.
Tickets for the unmissable deciding leg of the derby – which takes place at BT Murrayfield on Friday 30 December – are now on public sale! Click here to get your tickets.
The loosehead prop has been a revelation since joining Edinburgh in 2018, making his Scotland debut in October 2021 after qualifying on residency grounds.
A ferocious scrummager and tenacious ball carrier, Schoeman has become a cult figure in the Scottish capital, with the cry of ‘Schoe’ hailed every time the loosehead prop touches the ball.
The Edinburgh Rugby centurion will make his 50th appearance for Scotland this Sunday when called upon from the bench – a historic milestone for a player that has given everything to the jersey since arriving in Scotland in 2012.
You can never truly count out the experienced bull who continues to defy the laws of Father Time. At the age of 36, Nel is still considered one of world rugby’s elite scrummagers.
‘Rambo’ is one of Edinburgh Rugby’s most experienced players and will be champing at the bit to get back fit and represent his hometown club ahead of December’s festive derbies.
McInally will make his injury comeback – having taken a knock to the ribs in the Round 4 match against Emirates Lions – for the world famous Barbarians in a week’s time, before Edinburgh return to action against Benetton Rugby and Munster.
The British and Irish Lions tighthead prop is Glasgow Warriors and Scotland’s go-to man in the number 3 jersey and Fagerson is playing up to his reputation so far this season.
With two tries already for the Scotstoun side in 22/23, Fagerson is a constant threat from close range, while his elite scrummaging provides Glasgow with a consistent attacking platform come set-piece time.
The Scotland international loosehead prop is now in his second spell at Scotstoun having re-joined the Warriors at the start of the 21/22 season.
An aggressive ball carrier in the loose who never shirks a hard tackle or tough carry, Bhatti will be hoping to face off against Edinburgh where he played his rugby for a season in 19/20.
You won’t find many hookers that carry with as much anger or sheer velocity than George Turner.
The former Edinburgh man made his Scotland debut in 2017, featured at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan and started in four of Scotland five 2021 Guinness Six Nations matches, including away wins at Twickenham and in Paris.