Edinburgh make 12 changes for Challenge Cup opener against Agen

Experienced internationals join young hopefuls in side for Challenge Cup match

Jamie Ricthie
Jamie Ritchie, Bill Mata and Grant Gilchrist are back in the Edinburgh squad to face Benetton. Image: © Craig Watson. www.craigwatson.co.uk.

EDINBURGH coach Richard Cockerill has made a dozen changes to his starting line-up for tomorrow’s Challenge Cup match in Agen, with only winger Eroni Sau, stand-off Simon Hickey and blindside John Barclay keeping their places from last week’s league won over the Dragons.

The Challenge Cup is not quite the priority that the Champions Cup was last season, and that is reflected in Cockerill’s decision to rest some key players. At the same time, however, the coach has also included some big names in his squad, with Grant Gilchrist captaining from lock and his fellow-Scotland internationals Simon Berghan and Jamie Ritchie also making their first starts of the season.

Scrum-half Charlie Shiel and lock Sam Thomson will make their first starts, No 8 Nick Haining returns from injury,and Heriot’s scrum-half Dan Nutton is in line to make his debut off the bench. Jason Baggott and Dougie Fife join Nutton as backs replacements.

“We have been able to rotate back in a number of our Scotland internationalists to the forward pack,” Cockerill said. “They bring quality and that added experience, which is always needed when travelling away in Europe.

“A number of guys get their opportunity in the backline, and we’re excited to see how they perform against a quality opposition in Agen. We know we’ll be up against a really tough and physically dominant side, who will be keen to get their European campaign off to the best possible start, but we’ve prepared well and come into Friday’s match with plenty of confidence across the board.”


Edinburgh (v Agen at the Stade Armandie, Friday, 7pm GMT): Damien Hoyland; Eroni Sau, James Johnstone, George Taylor, Jamie Farndale; Simon Hickey, Charlie Shiel; Jamie Bhatti, Cameron Fenton, Simon Berghan, Sam Thomson, Grant Gilchrist, John Barclay, Jamie Ritchie, Nick Haining. Subs: Michael Willemse, Rory Sutherland, Murray McCallum, Lewis Carmichael, Ally Miller, Dan Nutton, Jason Baggott, Dougie Fife.

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. What is the latest position with Mish Watson’s knee injury? It looked nasty at the time with Byrne coming in from side and the joint taking a Lateral knock.

    • I think it was said at the time that Hamish would be out for three months or so, which would mean a return around the turn of the year.


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