Benetton v Edinburgh: Mike Blair makes eight changes for Treviso trip

Four senior players return from injury but 10 internationalists missing

James Lang comes in at inside-centre for Edinburgh against Benetton. Image: © Craig Watson -
James Lang comes in at inside-centre for Edinburgh against Benetton. Image: © Craig Watson -

AS expected, Edinburgh’s frontline internationalists have been rested for twmorrow’s away match against Benetton, meaning there is no Emiliano Boffelli (Argentina), Darcy Graham, Duhan van der Merwe, Mark Bennett, Blair Kinghorn, Viliame Mata (Fiji), Jamie Ritchie, Grant Gilchrist, Pierre Schoeman and WP Nel  – but head coach Mike Blair has been able to bolster his side with the return of four senior players from injury.

Hooker Stuart McInally, centre James Lang and full-back Henry Immelman all start for the capital outfit, while scrum-half Ben Vellacott is named on the bench.

Blair has made five further changes to the side that claimed a road win in Cardiff last month with scrum-half Henry Pyrgos, tight-head prop Angus Williams and second-row Marshall Sykes all getting the nod for this weekend’s Scottish x Italian Shield clash, alongside returning Scotland fringe players Damien Hoyland (wing) and Nick Haining (blindside flanker).

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“While it’s been great to get a period of rest where we’ve been able to get guys fit, work on certain aspects of our game and take stock on the season so far, we’re hugely excited to return to action this weekend as we take on a quality Benetton side,” said Blair.

“As a team, we were really happy with how we played in large parts in both wins at Zebre and Cardiff, and we know we’ll need to match those levels of intensity and work rate for the full 80 minutes in Treviso.

“It’s great that we’re able to integrate some of our international contingent back into the squad, with those players bringing added quality to a group who’ve performed really well in recent weeks.”


Edinburgh (v Benetton Rugby at Stadio Monigo, Saturday 1pm BST/2pm local): H Immelman; D Hoyland, M Currie, J Lang, W Goosen; C Savala, H Pyrgos; B Venter, S McInally, A Williams, M Sykes, J Hodgson, M Haining, L Crosbie, B Muncaster. Replacements: P Harrison, J Jack, L Atalifo, G Young, C Boyle, B Vellacott, J van der Walt, C Dean.

Unavailable: Nick Auterac, Dave Cherry, Cammy Hutchison, Adam McBurney, Sam Skinner, Hamish Watson.

Rested internationalists: Mark Bennett, Emiliano Boffelli, Grant Gilchrist, Darcy Graham, Blair Kinghorn, Viliame Mata, WP Nel, Jamie Ritchie, Pierre Schoeman, Duhan van der Merwe.

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About David Barnes 4026 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.


  1. It’ll require a big shift from the boys, they’ll need to be on top of their game as Benetton look to have a lot of their internationals in a side that has also been bolstered by a few additions from the recently defunkt Wasps squad.
    Our second half of the season looks tougher than the first, so we need to max our points against the less fancied teams.

  2. A strong line-up despite the rested. I love watching Muncaster play – he is exactly the kinds of big, abrasive back row player Scotland needs to add to the mix – and hopefully he will get more starting games this season to make the step up, even when all are available. Dean is tireless and has been in excellent club form, so Lang may consider himself a tad fortunate to get picked ahead of him.

  3. Pretty good line up though despite internationalists being rested.
    Interesting selections:
    Lang preferred to Dean despite his superb outing in Cardiff.
    De Bruin: left out of the 23 entirely despite being available.Williams again had a great game when he replaced him in the 2nd half in Cardiff

    • tight head is a real weakness for Edinburgh IMHO

      Nel can still usually be depended on to hold a scrum up, but at 36 pushing 37 his other contributions are diminishing rapidly. Atalifo likewise at 34 and some days just can’t hack it in the scrum
      I honestly do not rate Williams. But all of the above are in another universe compared to De Bruin who is simply not fit to play at this level

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