Edinburgh v Connacht preview: unfamiliar look to Sean Everitt’s first squad selection

With a raft of absentees, the new senior coach has drafted in some Super Series players for the game against the Irish province

Sean Everitt
Edinburgh senior coach Sean Everitt has selected his first matchday squad since taking up office. Image: Peter Watt (N50 Sports Photography).

WITH 15 players away at the Rugby World Cup and another ten unavailable, the Edinburgh squad to play Connacht on Friday evening has a distinctly unfamiliar look to it. 

There are some well-known names. Mark Bennett, for instance, will lead the side from centre in the absence of  new co-captain Ben Vellacott, whose partner is about to give birth. And in the pack, Glen Young, Jamie Hodgson and Connor Boyle, among others, are all established regulars.

But the squad of 32 – all of whom are expected to see action at some point against the Irish province – also includes players who either have substantial experience elsewhere or who have been called up from Edinburgh’s own academy or from Super Series sides. The experience comes in the shape of GB7s players Ross McCann and Jordan Edmunds, who start on the right wing and the bench respectively. The Super Series supplies tighthead props Bobby Bratton (Watsonians) and Craig Miller (Ayrshire Bulls), lock Alfie Scopes (Watsonians), centre Matt Davidson and full-back Liam Richman (both Heriot’s), all of whom are named among the replacements.

“It’s been a long pre-season programme for the squad, so, as you can imagine, there is a lot of excitement and buzz about getting back onto the pitch tomorrow night to face a quality Connacht outfit,” Everitt said. “We are obviously missing a lot of players at the Rugby World Cup, however that provides opportunity for younger players who’ll be eager to make a positive impression, and put their hand up for selection as we look ahead to next month’s BKT United Rugby Championship opener against Dragons.

“We’re excited to see our supporters back at Hive Stadium after such a long summer without matches. Hopefully we can get the crowd on its feet and put in a performance that will stand us in good stead for the season ahead.”

Summer signings Tom Dodd and Cameron Neild will make their debuts in the back row. Everitt intends to give all 32 players game time at some point, with the majority expected to play 40 minutes each, meaning scrum-half Scott Steele and prop Robin Hislop should also make their first appearances since joining in the close season.

Edinburgh (v Connacht at Hive Stadium, Friday 7.30pm): N Sweeney; R McCann, M Bennett (captain), M Currie, W Goosen; C Scott, C Shiel; B Venter, A McBurney, A Williams, G Young, J Hodgson, T Dodd, C Boyle, C Neild. Replacements: P Harrison, R Hislop, M Jones, R Bratton, C Miller, E McVie, A Scopes, L McConnell, Freddie Douglas, T Currie, S Steele, C Savala, J Edmunds, C Dean, M Davidson, Finn Douglas, L Richman.

Unavailable: Luan de Bruin (back), Dave Cherry (concussion), Mitch Eadie (calf), Jake Henry (knee), James Lang (calf), Ben Muncaster (knee), Harry Paterson (ankle), Marshall Sykes (hand), Tim Swiel (ankle), Ben Vellacott.

Absent on international duty: Ewan Ashman, Javan Sebastian, Pierre Schoeman, WP Nel, Sam Skinner, Grant Gilchrist, Luke Crosbie, Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Viliame Mata, Ben Healy, Blair Kinghorn, Darcy Graham, Duhan van der Merwe, Emiliano Boffelli.

 

About Stuart Bathgate 1394 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 Comment

  1. Euan McVie hasn’t played a super series game this season because of injury. Jamie Campbell (partnership player) has been outstanding in the super series but is not included. Mmm?
    On the other hand, Freddie Douglas, 3 months out of school, and outstanding in his six starts for the Future XV is in there – exciting to see.

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