Van der Merwe to start against Benetton Rugby
Scotland internationalist and British & Irish Lion Duhan van der Merwe will make his ‘second debut’ for Edinburgh Rugby tomorrow night as the returning winger starts against Benetton Rugby at DAM Health Stadium in the BKT United Rugby Championship (Saturday 15 October, kick-off 5.15pm) – live on Premier Sports.
Van der Merwe – who scored 32 tries in 67 appearances for Edinburgh before moving to Worcester in 2021 – will run out at DAM Health Stadium for the very first time, after re-joining the club this week, in a line-up that includes seven changes to the side that faced Emirates Lions in Round 4.
Van der Merwe’s inclusion on the wing sees Argentine international Emiliano Boffelli move to full-back, with current URC top-try scorer Darcy Graham continuing on the opposite wing. Scotland cap Mark Bennett returns from injury to start at outside centre.
A revamped front-row combination sees hooker Dave Cherry – who takes the place of the injured Stuart McInally – pack down alongside props Pierre Schoeman (loosehead) and WP Nel (tighthead).
Scotland lock Sam Skinner returns to the second-row to partner club co-captain Grant Gilchrist.
With Hamish Watson missing out through injury, Scotland internationalist Nick Haining (blindside flanker) comes into the back-row, as Luke Crosbie shifts to the openside. Fijian number 8 Viliame Mata once again anchors the pack.
James Lang (inside centre) continues in midfield alongside Bennett as Blair Kinghorn (stand-off) and Henry Pyrgos (scrum-half) form an unchanged half-back pairing.
Ahead of the fixture, Head Coach Mike Blair, said: “We were obviously disappointed with last weekend’s result but, after further review, there were a lot many positives to take into this week’s training and the squad have reacted brilliantly.
“We’ve had a really strong week of training and the guys have been switched on and fully focussed, ready take the field again this Saturday night where’ll face a Benetton side full of confidence.
“We’re delighted to name Duhan [van der Merwe] in the starting line-up and he’ll no doubt get an excellent reception from our supporters who’ll be excited to see him back in Edinburgh colours.
“The squad are eager to get back to winning ways and the crowd at DAM Health Stadium will have a huge part to play in driving us forward for the full 80 minutes.”
Edinburgh Rugby team to face Benetton Rugby at DAM Health Stadium in the BKT United Rugby Championship
Saturday 15 October (kick-off 5.15pm) – live on Premier Sports
15. Emiliano Boffelli (19)
14. Darcy Graham (54)
13. Mark Bennett (74)
12. James Lang (23)
11. Duhan van der Merwe (67)
10. Blair Kinghorn (122)
9. Henry Pyrgos (74)
1. Pierre Schoeman (87)
2. David Cherry (61)
3. WP Nel (175)
4. Sam Skinner (3)
5. Grant Gilchrist (178) CAPTAIN
6. Nick Haining (27)
7. Luke Crosbie (72)
8. Viliame Mata (98)
16. Adam McBurney (14)
17. Boan Venter (29)
18. Luan de Bruin (11)
19. Jamie Hodgson (41)
20. Ben Muncaster (18)
21. Charlie Shiel (45)
22. Charlie Savala (15)
23. Chris Dean (124)
Unavailable: Stuart McInally, Jamie Ritchie, Ben Vellacott, Hamish Watson