Edinburgh v Benetton: Jaco van der Walt and Bill Mata miss out through injury

Wingers Graham and Van der Merwe among seven players retained by Scotland

Jaco van der Walt
Jaco van der Walt is out of the Edinburgh team to play Benetton because of injury. Image: © Craig Watson. www.craigwatson.co.uk

JACO van der Walt will miss Edinburgh’s game against Benetton on Sunday because of injury, causing a potential problem for Scotland coach Gregor Townsend should he fail to recover in time to play against Ireland next weekend. There was no immediate word on the nature of the stand-off’s injury, but with Glasgow’s Adam Hastings suspended for both the Ireland and Italy games, Townsend will hope that Van der Walt is passed fit next week so he can provide bench cover for Finn Russell.

Nathan Chamberlain comes in at 10 for Van der Walt in an Edinburgh line-up that shows six changes in all from the team that began last week’s narrow defeat by Scarlets. Charlie Shiel is in at scrum-half to partner Chamberlain, while the other change in the back division sees Jack Blain take over on the right wing from Darcy Graham, who has been retained by Scotland.

In the pack, Dave Cherry starts at hooker after being on the bench last week, while Andrew Davidson is at lock in place of Grant Gilchrist, another who has been kept back by Scotland. Luke Crosbie  comes into the back row, with Bill Mata missing out because of injury.

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Pierre Schoeman sets his sights on Scotland place

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Seven players in all are listed as unavailable because of Scotland duty: Gilchrist, Graham, Duhan van der Merwe, Willem Nel, Jamie Ritchie, Rory Sutherland and Hamish Watson.

“There were a lot of positives to take from our performance against Scarlets last weekend, but unfortunately there were elements that meant we fell short on the scoreboard at the end,” head coach Richard Cockerill said of the 27-25 loss which effectively ended his team’s hopes of a top-three place in PRO14 Conference B.

“This Sunday is another opportunity to continue those improvements and correct some of the elements that came unstuck. We’ve used the eight-day turnaround between these games well to work on our game plan and execution.

“Benetton are good side that will pose some real physical challenges. They’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain from the foot of the table, which can give teams a renewed sense of confidence and belief, and make them a real threat. It’s another opportunity to pull on the Edinburgh shirt and face quality, physical opposition and one we’re looking forward to.”

Edinburgh (v Benetton at BT Murrayfield, Sunday 3.15pm): D Hoyland; J Blain, J Johnstone, G Taylor, E Sau; N Chamberlain, C Shiel;  P Schoeman (captain), D Cherry, L Atalifo, M Bradbury, A Davidson, L Crosbie, A Miller, N Haining. Substitutes: M Willemse, B Venter, S Berghan, A Ferreira, M Kunavula, H Pyrgos, C Savala, M Bennett.





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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. An ideal chance during the 6N to give young Scottish players much, much needed game time.

    It is therefore great to see Chamberlain start but much less so to see only one of the four named props being Scottish Qualified.

    Meanwhile over in Glasgow equally good to see some of the young Scottish Qualified backs starting, but again two of the four named props are not Scottish Qualified, and surely a Scottish Qualified second row could be on the bench instead of the sadly massively out of shape Nakawara.

    It must be so frustrating for guys still not getting game time.

    A consequence of letting the pros do their jobs?

    • Yes Keith lets just throw out an entire team of players under the age of 22, that makes perfect sense when both sides already have quite a lot of youth and inexperience playing this weekend.

      Edinburgh still have a chance of reaching the champions cup. This game is a crucial one to win to keep our hopes alive. I want our Youth talent playing against the best teams next season, not some crappy trip to London Irish or Bayonne or the Dragons.

      It’s a balance.

      • “not some crappy trip to London Irish or Bayonne or the Dragons.”

        how unbelievably arrogant.

      • Neil

        Trying to respond to the points you raise in both your comments.

        I did not say anything about the age of SQ props or second rows who might have got a game, but for example McCallum, Allan and McQuillen for are all well older than your “entire team of under 22”. They may of course be “greener” than they might be because of lack of game time(see below).

        I agree with James re your comment on London Irish etc.

        “The balance” should surely tilt in favour of Scotland: heaven forbid if we have a prop training injury/covid case this week: we will have to field underplayed and/or underdeveloped replacements since the likely next two looseheads and two tightheads Dell, Bhatti, Rae McCallum barely played a half between this weekend, and this situation has been going on for a long time.

        Am I an Edinburgh supporter? I am an occasional fan when time from all my other rugby activities allow, but I am a big supporter of the need for Edinburgh and Glasgow as part of developing players for the Scottish team. I have made it clear I am not however a supporter of SRU funds being spent on NSQ players at the expense of developing players for the Scottish Team.

        I did state I was happy Glasgow were giving the young backs a game, so not sure of your point.

        If you can convince me we are getting value for money from Nakawara this season, I will eat my hat. I cannot believe that in his present condition he offers more than a less experienced Scot.

        I agree that the academies are producing more good players and that props take time to mature. However post academy we have a serious problem with our structure and selections which is preventing game time. For props to mature game time is essential.

    • The next two games are somewhat crucial for Edinburghs chances of champions cup qualification Keith, not the time to throw in some green props to a team that already have a fair amount of youth in it. I guess you are not an Edinburgh supporter?

      You should be happy Glasgow are throwing out as much young talent as they are – it shows the academies are starting to do there job, there is work to do only really in the props now in terms of talent coming through, everywhere else we are producing. Perhaps the majority of props take longer to mature into their position?

      • Makes you wonder where all the props have disappeared to that we need to rely on NSQ players?

        Those same NSQ props who are taking up squad places and getting game time and keeping out other players from getting games.

        Yes indeed props take time to mature. But not playing is the biggest barrier to developing any player.

  2. Looks like a good opportunity for Shiel and Chamberlain. Shiel needs to step up he’s been a prospect for too long and with vellacot coming in how many more chances will he get?
    Chamberlain should see a lot more fast ball alongside him so it’s a chance to show if he can unlock a pro defence. Looking forward to the match.

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