Scotland stars return for Tigers test
Edinburgh Rugby welcome the return of several Scotland stars for tomorrow night’s Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 clash against Leicester Tigers at Mattioli Woods Welford Road (Friday 31 March, kick-off 8pm) – live on BT Sport.
Prop Pierre Schoeman, back-row duo Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson, and wing Duhan van der Merwe all return to the starting line-up as Head Coach Mike Blair names five changes to the XV that faced Connacht last weekend.
WP Nel – who featured from the bench in Galway – starts at tighthead prop in the only other alteration as Edinburgh make a first visit to Welford Road since the 2007/08 campaign.
Ahead of the fixture, Blair, said: “Heineken Champions Cup knockout rugby, Friday night lights and a packed out Welford Road – these are the occasions you truly relish as a player and it’s a privilege to lead this club into our biggest game of the season.
“Some of Edinburgh’s biggest moments have come on the European stage and we understand how significant this match is to everyone connected to the club – fans, sponsors, players and staff alike.
“It will be a brilliant moment kickstarting the Heineken Champions Round of 16 tomorrow night, going up against the English Champions on their home patch. We’re hugely excited for the opportunity to represent the city at such a historic ground.”
An electric back-thee sees Scotland duo Darcy Graham and Van der Merwe paired on opposite wings as Argentine international Emiliano Boffelli continues at full-back.
Centres James Lang and Mark Bennett once again link-up in midfield and stand-off Blair Kinghorn combines with experienced scrum-half Henry Pyrgos at half-back.
Up front, hooker Stuart McInally packs down alongside Schoeman and Nel as locks Grant Gilchrist and Sam Skinner complete an all-Scotland tight-five.
Scotland captain Ritchie and British & Irish Lion Watson return to a back-row that is anchored by Fijian club centurion Viliame Mata.
Edinburgh Rugby team to face Leicester Tigers at Mattioli Woods Welford Road in the Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16
Friday 31 March (kick-off 8pm) – live on BT Sport
15. Emiliano Boffelli (28)
14. Darcy Graham (57)
13. Mark Bennett (85)
12. James Lang (36)
11. Duhan van der Merwe (72)
10. Blair Kinghorn (131)
9. Henry Pyrgos (81)
1. Pierre Schoeman (95)
2. Stuart McInally (174)
3. WP Nel (185)
4. Sam Skinner (11)
5. Grant Gilchrist (187) Co-captain
6. Jamie Ritchie (95) Co-captain
7. Hamish Watson (137)
8. Viliame Mata (113)
16. Dave Cherry (68)
17. Boan Venter (43)
18. Luan de Bruin (19)
19. Marshall Sykes (39)
20. Luke Crosbie (83)
21. Ben Vellacott (36)
22. Cammy Hutchison (18)
23. Damien Hoyland (104)
Unavailable: Matt Currie, Wes Goosen, Nick Haining, Henry Immelman, Ben Muncaster, Harry Paterson, Pierce Phillips, Charlie Savala, Angus Williams.