Challenge Cup: Edinburgh v Bayonne: hosts boosted by returning internationals

But no Pierre Schoeman due to a concussion

Grant Gilchrist returns to Edinburgh's starting XV for tomorrow night's Challenge Cup clash against Bayonne. Image: © Craig Watson -
Grant Gilchrist is set to make his 200th Edinburgh appearance against the Sharks Image: © Craig Watson -

EDINBURGH head coach Sean Everitt has added some significant international experience to his match-day squad for tomorrow [Saturday] night’s Challenge Cup round of 16 clash against Bayonne at Hive Stadium in the shape of starting second-row Grant Gilchrist, starting centre Mark Bennett, replacement back-row Luke Crosbie and replacement scrum-half Ali Price – but there is no Pierre Schoeman, who has been sidelined by a concussion suffered during training.

With Schoeman’s fellow loose-heads Boan Venter and Robin Hislop also missing (both have knee injuries), Luan de Bruin is pressed into action in the No 1 jersey he routinely wore in his native South Africa and with Leicester Tigers before switching to tight-head when he joined Edinburgh ahead of the 2021-22 season. The 31-year-old has covered loose-head from the bench in the three matches he’s played since returning from injury during the last month..

Meanwhile, 21-year-old academy graduate Mikey Jones will provide bench cover on the left hand side of the front-row, and make his competitive professional debut if pressed into action.

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This will be Gilchrist’s first club appearance since returning from Six Nations duty, Bennett has recovered from a concussion, Price is back after missing the last fortnight in South Africa to be at home for the birth of his daughter, and Crosbie has recovered from an upper arm injury suffered during the Six Nations.

Otherwise, it is an unchanged starting XV to the side Everitt sent out against the Sharks (a 23-13 loss in Durban) last weekend, while on the bench, D’Arcy Rae comes in for Javan Sebastian as tight-head cover, the demoted Jamie Hodgson nudges Marshall Sykes out the 23 and Cam Scott makes way for Chris Dean, meaning James Lang is back-up stand-off.

“It’s great to be home after our two-week tour to South Arica and I know the squad are very excited to get back out in front of our home support in Edinburgh,” said Everitt.

“We’re getting into the business end of the campaign, so the games come thick and fast, but this is where we want to be as a club, competing for places in the final stages of Europe and the URC.

“We know Bayonne are a top side with threats across the park. We’ve spoken about their pack and the physicality they bring, so we’ll need to be ready from the first whistle. However we have lots of quality too and our team will be relishing the chance to put in a match-winning performance for our supporters.”


Edinburgh (v Bayonne at Hive Stadium in the Challenge Cup on Saturday @ 8pm GMT): W Goosen; J Henry, M Bennett, M Currie, D van der Merwe; B Healy, B Vellacott ©; L de Bruin, E Ashman, W Nel, S Skinner, G Gilchrist, J Ritchie, H Watson, V Mata. Replacements: D Cherry, M Jones, D Rae, J Hodgson, L Crosbie, A Price, J Lang, C Dean

Unavailable: Emiliano Boffelli (back), Darcy Graham (groin), Robin Hislop (knee), Harry Paterson (foot), Scott Steele (hip), Pierre Schoeman (concussion), Nathan Sweeney (groin), Boan Venter (knee), Glen Young (ankle).

That was the month that was: March 2024

About David Barnes 3997 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.


    • Depends on your definition of when possible. If you always played your best team the players would be worn out (in playing terms) half-way through the season and you wouldn’t have any match-fit players to cover for injuries. Better to have a little rotation and save your first choice line-up (if there is such a thing) for key games.

  1. Let’s just hope it is better than the last couple of weeks!!! Having some of the ball would be a good start. Hopefully they win as a rematch against Sharks away would at least give us a chance to prove a lot of people wrong after last week.

    Will be interesting to see how busy the Hive is, with it being a 8pm KO and still in the Easter holidays.

    AOB: What is the latest with Steele and his hip injury? He was one of our signings this time last year and still hasn’t put on the shirt?

  2. Given Bayonne appear to be playing a reserve team looks like we’ve been suckered into listing far too strong a squad! Chance to give some of the guys a rest after being out in SA.Much more important to make the top 8 in the URC both for play offs and next season’s Champions Cup places. THe Challenge Cup is fairly unimportant-and a victory simply means (almost certainly) an immediate return to SA and another fixture against the Sharks! Sorry but I think Everitt has got this all wrong.

    • If we were away I would agree. But we are home and I pay money to see the best team available.


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