Edinburgh v Benetton: big names return to home squad for URC clash

Darcy Graham, Grant Gilchrist, Hamish Watson and Bill Mata all back in Edinburgh's starting line-up

Darcy Graham in action for Edinburgh. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Darcy Graham in action for Edinburgh. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

DARCY Graham, Grant Gilchrist, Hamish Watson and Bill Mata are all back in Edinburgh’s starting line-up to face Benetton after being rested last week, but Pierre Schoeman, Jamie Ritchie and Stuart McInally have to make do with places on the bench.

Mike Blair said earlier in the week that all of those senior players who sat out last week’s win against the Dragons would come into contention for tomorrow night’s home game against the Italians, but warned they would not all make it into the 15 given how well the team played in their absence. Schoeman and Ritchie are sure to see action at some point, but the head coach’s retention of Boan Venter at loosehead and Magnus Bradbury in the back row is just reward for their excellent performances in the 30-14 win at Rodney Parade.

Hooker McInally will also have to be patient as he waits to get on in place of Dave Cherry, who has been promoted to the starting line-up after coming on for Adam McBurney last week.

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Bradbury, who will make his 100th appearance for Edinburgh tomorrow, was part of an outstanding back-row effort in Wales. His team-mate Nick Haining is unfortunate to miss out this time as Mata returns, while Watson makes his first URC appearance in place of the injured Luke Crosbie.  Gilchrist, meanwhile, is back at lock in place of Marshall Sykes, who drops to the bench.

In the back three, Graham takes over from Ramiro Moyano, who scored two tries last week, while Emiliano Boffelli and Damien Hoyland keep their places. James Lang also holds on to his jersey despite being forced off with a dead leg last Saturday, while on the bench Mark Bennett is set to make his return from illness.

Eight players besides Crosbie are listed as unavailable due to injury: Luan de Bruin, Henry Immelman, Mesulame Kunavula, Pierce Phillips, George Taylor, Ben Toolis, Jaco van der Walt and Glen Young.

The game is being billed as “Club Appreciation Night’, and the players have been cleared to win the socks of their boyhood clubs or those with which they have a connection. Graham, for instance, will wear Hawick socks, while Bradbury will sport the colours of Oban Lorne.

Edinburgh (v Benetton at the DAM Health Stadium, Friday 7.35pm): E Boffelli; D Graham, M Currie, J Lang, D Hoyland; B Kinghorn, B Vellacott; B Venter, D Cherry, W Nel, J Hodgson, G Gilchrist (captain), M Bradbury, H Watson, V Mata. Substitutes: S McInally, P Schoeman, L Atalifo, M Sykes, J Ritchie, H Pyrgos, C Savala, M Bennett.

Benetton: R Smith; R Tavuyara, I Brex, T Menoncello, M Ioane; L Marin, D Duvenage (captain); F Zani, H Faiva, T Pasquali, N Cannone, F Ruzza, G Pettinelli, M Lamaro, T Halafihi. Substitutes: G Lucchesi, T Gallo, I Nemer, C Wegner, M Zuliani, A Garbisi, J Riera, E Padovani.

Referee: A Jones (Wales).

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About Stuart Bathgate 1130 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. Could also just be sensible squad rotation, it would be great if we could rotate throughout the season without significantly weakening the team

  2. It’s hard on Luke Crosbie-MOM last week but dropped from the 23 this week……or is it???? Mata and Watson are no bad replacements

    • Crosbie listed as injured. Which is convenient as it avoids that hard decision. Also deprives Crosbie a chance to be a regular and nail a place

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