Cardiff v Edinburgh: three changes to Mike Blair’s team for Sunday match

Pierce Phillips, Ben Muncaster and Charlie Savala all return to the starting line-up for the game in Wales

Ben Muncaster. Image: © Craig Watson -
Ben Muncaster has agreed a two-year contract extension along with team-mate Chris Dean. Image: © Craig Watson -

EDINBURGH have made just three changes to their team for Sunday’s URC match against Cardiff – a stark contrast to Glasgow, who only kept three of their previous starting line-up for their match against Benetton.

Having had to field a much-changed team for last weekend’s visit to Zebre, head coach Mike Blair has had more or less the same squad from which to choose. Sam Skinner and Nick Haining are the two additional players to become unavailable this week after being retained by the Scotland squad, and their places at lock and in the back row go to Pierce Phillips and Ben Muncaster respectively.

The third change is at stand-off, where Charlie Savala returns in place of Jaco van der Walt. On the bench, Connor Boyle returns from injury.

“We’ve taken a lot of confidence from back-to-back bonus-point wins, and we’ve been really pleased about how our game is developing so far, but we need to keep that level of focus for 80 minutes,” Blair said. “Cardiff have had an impressive start to the season and are in a rich vein of form having won their last three.

“Last weekend’s victory against DHL Stormers showed just how dangerous they are at home. We know we’ll have to at our best from the first whistle to last in Cardiff.”

Four players are unavailable because of injury: Cammy Hutchison, James Lang, Stuart McInally, Ben Vellacott.

And 14 are absent on Scotland duty: Skinner, Haining, Mark Bennett, Dave Cherry, Grant Gilchrist, Darcy Graham, Damien Hoyland, Blair Kinghorn, WP Nel, Jamie Ritchie, Pierre Schoeman, Duhan van der Merwe, Hamish Watson and Glen Young.

Dillon Lewis, Taulupe Faletau, Tomos Williams, Rhys Priestland and Josh Adams are all absent from the Cardiff ranks through being involved with Wales. A lengthy injury list consists of Kristian Dacey, Seb Davies, Matthew Screech, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Josh Navidi, Uilise Halaholo, Rey Lee-Lo, Owen Lane, Liam Williams, Jacob Beetham and Matthew Morgan.

Edinburgh (v Cardiff at the Arms Park, Sunday 3pm): H Immelman; E Boffelli, M Currie, C Dean, W Goosen; C Savala, C Shiel: B Venter, A McBurney, L de Bruin, P Phillips, J Hodgson, B Muncaster, L Crosbie (captain), V Mata. Substitutes: P Harrison, N Auterac, A Williams, M Sykes, C Boyle, H Pyrgos, J van der Walt, J Blain.

Cardiff: B Thomas; J Harries, M Grady, M Llewellyn, T Cabango; J Evans, L Williams; R Carré, K Myhill, D Arhip, J Turnbull (captain), R Thornton, J Botham, T Young, J Ratti. Substitutes: L Belcher, C Domachowski, W Davies-King, T Williams, G Bradley, E Bevan, A Summerhill, C Winnett. 


About Stuart Bathgate 1240 Articles
Stuart has been the rugby correspondent for both The Scotsman and The Herald, and was also The Scotsman’s chief sports writer for 14 years from 2000.


  1. Still a decent team considering there’s 18 players unavailable and shows the depth Edinburgh have. Watching Cardiff last week they look a more formidable outfit this year with a pretty strong set of forwards so this will be a tough test and you’ve got to believe Edinburgh are the big underdogs. Our back up front row not so strong so agree with John about Murray McCallum. This is the sort of game that we somehow need to find a way of winning if we want to contend at the top of the table.

  2. Good looking team given the absentees, I’d have had Crosbie playing for Scotland but hey ho…. looking like Edinburgh could very well be doing with Murray Mccallum back for next season, Nel has been phenomenal but old father time…………
    Big game for Savala and Currie especially

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