Scotland quartet back for derby decider
Edinburgh Rugby welcome the return of Scotland quartet Blair Kinghorn, Mark Bennett, Sam Skinner and Luke Crosbie for tomorrow night’s 1872 Cup decider against Glasgow Warriors at BT Murrayfield (Friday 30 December, kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Viaplay.
The team selection includes a further three changes to the side that faced the Warriors in last weekend’s opening leg as Wes Goosen (wing) – who also returns from injury – Henry Pyrgos (scrum-half) and Boan Venter (loosehead) are all handed starts for 150th anniversary derby.
With a bumper crowd of more than 25,000 expected for the festive clash, supporters are encouraged to secure their tickets today to guarantee their place at the decisive derby, as Edinburgh Rugby look to retain the famous silverware.
Trailing by six points on aggregate following the opening leg – which saw Glasgow claim a 16-10 win at Scotstoun – a victory by six points or more would see the capital side retain the 1872 Cup, while leapfrogging their age-old rivals in the BKT URC standings.
Ahead of the fixture, Head Coach Mike Blair, said: “This is a hugely exciting fixture for all connected to the club – it’s set to be a special derby at BT Murrayfield and we hope to put in a performance that matches the significance of the 150th anniversary fixture.
“We’re delighted to welcome back a number of experienced players from injury for this match-up and they’ll be relishing the chance to be back out there representing the city in a game that means so much to us and our supporters.
“We were obviously disappointed with the end result in the opening leg however we showed a real resilience to stay in the match. That grit and determination will be needed once again as we go up against a very strong Glasgow side.
“Our supporters will have a huge role to play on Friday night. We’ll need their backing from first minute to last in what is a huge game for the club.”
Argentine star Emiliano Boffelli reverts to full-back with Goosen returning on the wing alongside British and Irish Lion flyer Duhan van der Merwe.
With Bennett back in the line-up at outside-centre, James Lang switches to inside-centre, while Kinghorn and Pyrgos form a new half-back pairing.
Hooker Tom Cruse packs down alongside prop Venter and WP Nel up front as experienced Scotland locks Grant Gilchrist and Sam Skinner complete the tight-five.
The return of Crosbie at openside is the only alteration to an otherwise unchanged back-row as Jamie Richie (blindside) and Viliame Mata (number 8) once again start.
On the bench, scrum-half Charlie Shiel could make his 50th appearance for the club if called upon, while centre Cammy Hutchison returns to action following a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Edinburgh Rugby team to face Glasgow Warriors at BT Murrayfield in the BKT United Rugby Championship
Friday 30 December (kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Viaplay.
15. Emiliano Boffelli (25)
14. Wes Goosen (6)
13. Mark Bennett (77)
12. James Lang (29)
11. Duhan van der Merwe (71)
10. Blair Kinghorn (126)
9. Henry Pyrgos (78)
1. Boan Venter (37)
2. Tom Cruse (3)
3. WP Nel (181)
4. Sam Skinner (5)
5. Grant Gilchrist (183) CO-CAPTAIN
6. Jamie Ritchie (92) CO-CAPTAIN
7. Luke Crosbie (79)
8. Viliame Mata (105)
16. Paddy Harrison (9)
17. Pierre Schoeman (92)
18. Angus Williams (18)
19. Marshall Sykes (32)
20. Connor Boyle (26)
21. Charlie Shiel (49)
22. Charlie Savala (21)
23. Cammy Hutchison (14)
Unavailable: Dave Cherry, Matt Currie, Chris Dean, Darcy Graham, Damien Hoyland, Henry Immelman, Adam McBurney, Stuart McInally, Cammy Scott, Hamish Watson.