Edinburgh v La Rochelle: big guns back in business for home team

Blair Kinghorn is passed fit and is one of 11 Scotland internationals returning to the squad after Autumn Cup duty

Jamie Ritchie and Blair Kinghorn are two of the Scotland internationals who return to the Edinburgh squad to face La Rochelle. Image: © Craig Watson. www.craigwatson.co.uk

RICHARD Cockerill has named 11 players from Scotland’s Autumn Nations Cup campaign in his squad for tomorrow night’s match against La Rochelle. Nine are in the starting line-up for the Champions Cup game, while loosehead Rory Sutherland and tighthead Simon Berghan are on the bench.

Blair Kinghorn has been passed fit after missing the last Test against Ireland with a broken finger, and joins Duhan van der Merwe and Darcy Graham in the back three. New cap Jaco van der Walt resumes at stand-off, while the other players making their return from Gregor Townsend‘s squad are Stuart McInally, WP Nel, Ben Toolis, Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson.

Only four players remain in the 15 from the team’s last outing, the 43-14 home defeat by Ulster at the end of November: Chris Dean and joint-captain Henry Pyrgos in the back division and Pierre Schoeman and Andrew Davidson up front.

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“We worked exceptionally hard last season to earn a return to the Heineken Champions Cup,” Cockerill said. “As a player, a coach and a fan, this is where you want to be – testing yourself against the best sides in Europe, so we are very much looking forward to this match.

“It’s good to welcome back some players from international duty to start. They’re quality players and we’ll be asking and expecting a lot from them as we look to get our European Cup campaign underway at home.

“La Rochelle are the current pace-setters in France, which says a lot in itself. They’re undeniably a quality side, but we’ve shown in the past we can live with these teams and we’ll be going out there tomorrow to put a marker down on our cup campaign.”

Fourteen players are listed as unavailable due to injury, including new signing Charlie Savala. They are: Lewis Carmichael, Luke Crosbie, Dan Gamble, Grant Gilchrist, Matt Gordon, Nick Haining, Damien Hoyland, Charlie Jupp, Mesu Kunavula, Fraser McKenzie, Murray McCallum, Dan Nutton, Savala and George Taylor.

Edinburgh (v La Rochelle at BT Murrayfield on Saturday 12th December @ 8pm): B Kinghorn; D Graham, M Bennett C Dean, D van der Merwe; J van der Walt, H Pyrgos; P Schoeman, S McInally, W Nel, B Toolis, A Davidson, J Ritchie, H Watson, V Mata. Substitutes: M Willemse, R Sutherland, S Berghan, A Ferreira, M Bradbury, N Groom, N Chamberlain, J Johnstone.

La Rochelle: J Sinzelle; D Leyds, G Doumayrou, L Botia, R Rhule; J Plisson, T Kerr-Barlow;  R Wardi, P Bourgarit, U Atonio, T Lavault, W Skelton, W Liebenberg, K Gourdon, G Alldritt.  Substitutes: F Bosch, L Aouf, A Joly, M Tanguy, R Bourdeau, T Berjon, I West, M Alonso-Munoz.

Referee: L Pearce (England).

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About Stuart Bathgate 1393 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.