Challenge Cup: Sharks v Edinburgh: one change for visitors ahead of quarter-final clash

Pierre Schoeman returns from a concussion at loose-head prop

Grant Gilchrist will make his 200th Edinburgh appearance against Sharks in the Challenge Cup tomorrow lunchtime. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Grant Gilchrist will make his 200th Edinburgh appearance against Sharks in the Challenge Cup tomorrow lunchtime. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

PIERRE SCHOEMAN will return to the Edinburgh starting XV for tomorrow afternoon’s European Challenge Cup quarter-final clash against the Sharks in Durban, as the only new face in the match-day squad after last weekend’s round of 16 home win over Bayonne.

The loose-head prop’s selection, having recovered from a concussion, means fellow South African Luan de Bruin drops to the bench and Mikey Jones – who made his debut as a replacement against Bayonne – misses  out on the 23.

Meanwhile, second-row Grant Gilchrist – who once again co-captains the capital side – will make his 200th appearance for the club, becoming only the fourth player in Edinburgh Rugby history to reach double-centurion status, following in the footsteps of Allan Jacobsen (268), Chris Paterson and current teammate WP Nel (who made his 200th appearance for the club against the Stormers in Cape Town three weeks ago).


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Edinburgh lost 23-13 to the Sharks at the same venue in the URC two weeks ago. The South African side are on a three match home winning streak after a poor opening two-thirds to the season, and have a squad packed full of Springbok World Cup winners such as Lukhanyo Am, Eben Etzebeth and Ox Nche.

However, the visitors will draw confidence from last weekend’s victory over Bayonne, when they came much closer to clicking as an attacking force than they managed during their post-Six Nations mini-tour of South Africa during the previous fortnight.

“I’d firstly like to congratulate Grant on reaching 200 appearances for the club,” said Edinburgh head coach, Sean Everitt. “It’s a fantastic achievement for a top professional who truly bleeds Edinburgh. This is his club and I know how much it means to represent this city and our supporters week in, week out.

“After arriving in Durban earlier this week, we’ve continued to prepare well for what is a massive fixture for the club. We’ve spoken all week about the collective belief needed to win on the road in tough conditions. We’ve done it before and will need those same levels of energy and commitment once again.

“It’s great to welcome Pierre back to the starting line-up. He’s a quality player with a huge amount of experience at the very top level of rugby. His return only strengthens our pack.”

He continued: “We’ve taken a lot of belief from last weekend’s knockout win against Bayonne. That second-half set the standard of how we want to perform moving forward into the crucial business end of the campaign.”

 

Edinburgh (v Sharks at Kings Park in Durban in the Challenge Cup on Saturday @ 12.30pm GMT): W Goosen; J Henry, M Bennett, M Currie, D van der Merwe; B Healy, B Vellacott co-©; P Schoeman, E Ashman, W Nel, S Skinner, G Gilchrist co-©, J Ritchie, H Watson, V Mata. Replacements: D Cherry, B Venter, 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), Nathan Sweeney (groin), Glen Young (ankle).

 

Sharks: A Fassi; W Kok, L Am, E Hooker, M Mapimpi; S Masuku, J Hendrikse; O Nche, B Mbonambi, V Koch, E  Etzebeth, E van Heerden, J Venter, V Tshituka, Pi Buthelezi. Replacements: D Jooste, N Mchunu, H Jacobs, C Rahl, J Labuschagne, G Williams, C Bosch, F Venter.


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About David Barnes 4001 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.

10 Comments

  1. Anyone know if Premier Sport/Viaplay are showing the match tomorrow? Or is it a pay for the match on the EPCR website job? Thanks

  2. Sharks B team fairly humped Zebre last week so Eben Etzebeth and co well rested whilst Edinburgh have travelled there, back and there again in 8/9 days 😖 . 🤞though, as said in other posts, nought to lose by going for it!

  3. May as well have a full crack at it – Winning the next 3 games in this competition and not only will we win a trophy but gain Champions Cup qualification i believe.

    The opposition has played well recently but not top tier – similar to Edinburgh and the rest of the challenge cup – very much an even playing field this season. All in all – if we can win this one i see no reason the opposition in the Semi and Final will be any tougher given the circumstances.

    Not that Edinburgh have a massive Injury crisis relative to other teams but the absence of Glen Young, and in particular Darcy Graham, are big blows, think they offer that doggedness & spark that Edinburgh are struggling to find consistently right now.

  4. No reason Edinburgh shouldn’t give it a right good lash (especially as its arguably as strong a team as Scotland field)
    This is the big opportunity for Healy

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