Edinburgh v Leinster: Scotland trio released as Emiliano Boffelli returns

Stuart McInally will also make his comeback from injury as Mike Blair's team bid to fight back into play-off contention

Luke Crosbie in action for Edinburgh. Image: ©Craig Watson
Luke Crosbie will captain Edinburgh against Leinster. Image: ©Craig Watson

HAMISH WATSON, Sam Skinner and Luke Crosbie have all been released from the Scotland camp to play for Edinburgh against Leinster tomorrow (Saturday), while Stuart McInally and Emiliano Boffelli return from injury.

Watson replaced Crosbie in the national team’s starting line-up for last Sunday’s Six Nations match against France, but saw minimal game time before being sacrificed after Grant Gilchrist‘s sending-off. Crosbie moves across the back row and captains the team from blindside. Skinner, who is at lock, came off the bench in that match at the Stade de France.

Boffelli has been out with a couple of nagging injuries, while McInally has been recovering from concussion. Gilchrist is one of half a dozen players listed as unavailable because of Scotland commitments.

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Edinburgh’s most recent outing, the defeat by Scarlets, meant they have now won just once in their last seven URC matches. They are currently 11th in the table and may need to win three of their four remaining games to get back into the play-off places. Leaders Leinster have won all 14 of their matches so far.

“We’re delighted to welcome both Stuart and Emiliano back from injury,” head coach Mike Blair said. “They have a huge amount of international experience, bringing added quality to the starting XV.

“We know our overall performance against Scarlets wasn’t good enough and we’re expecting a reaction across the board tomorrow night. Playing in front of our home support will give us a massive boost and we want to put in an 80-minute performance that gets our fans excited and off their feet from the first whistle.

“Leinster are unbeaten in the league for a reason and they’re a side with a lot of power and accuracy. We’ll need to be switched on from the get-go.

“This game is huge for the club. It’s a cup final in terms of our chances of making the top eight. We need our home support and every stand jumping come kick-off tomorrow evening.”

Edinburgh (v Leinster at the DAM Health Stadium, Saturday 5.05pm): E Boffelli; D Hoyland, M Bennett, J Lang, W Goosen; C Savala, B Vellacott; B Venter, S McInally, L Atalifo, M Sykes, S Skinner, L Crosbie (captain), H Watson, V Mata. Substitutes: D Cherry, J Jack, E Millar-Mills, J Hodgson, N Haining, C Shiel, J van der Walt, C Dean.

Unavailable: Nick Auterac, Luan de Bruin, Matt Currie, Darcy Graham, Henry Immelman, Murray McCallum, Ben Muncaster, Cammy Scott, Angus Williams.

Scotland camp: Grant Gilchrist, Blair Kinghorn, WP Nel, Jamie Ritchie, Pierre Schoeman, Duhan van der Merwe.

Leinster: C Frawley; J Larmour, L Turner, J Osborne, D Kearney; H Byrne, L McGrath; M Milne, J McKee, M Ala’alatoa, R Molony, J Jenkins, R Ruddock (captain), S Penny, M Deegan. Substitutes: L Barron, J Boyle, T Clarkson, B Deeny, W Connors, N McCarthy, C Tector, R Russell.

Referee: Craig Evans (Wales).

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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. Edinburgh started well , with superb performances from Rambo and Mish just back from lay-offs and were rightly in front at 15-7. After that the wheels came off. Rambo, Mish and Mata all continued to play well but the rest of the team failed to meet those standards. Savala at 10 was anonymous, the team really need a creative fly half. Defending became comical among the backs. Bennet was poor in attack and defence, usually my favourite player. Dean was pants. Wings offered nothing.
    Edinburgh tried to play it wide too many times, despite not tying in enough Leinster forwards and as a result the attacks broke down. Against Leinster, you either have to keep a hold of the ball for as many phases as possible or kick for territory or the Garryowen and hope.

    • agree with most of that. were in the game but wheels came off big time.
      And Bennett was poor as was Deans, Lang not much better, fewer mistakes because he was less involved maybe.
      And Vellacott was the worst.
      Wings – well Bennett went to wing quite early as Goosen yet again injured. doesn’t look like a good signing to me. Hoyland was ok, worked hard and looked for ball

      But biggest problem was that for all the big names in that pack, Leinster got far too much easy quick ball. Watson did a few typical bouncing ball carries for few metres, but Hamish, Hamish wherefore art thou Hamish at the breakdown? AWOL

  2. there are no weak Leinster team’s, but that looks like a weakish Leinster team. Edin to inflict their first defeat of the season?

  3. Gilchrist does not seem to be listed in the Edinburgh website as unavailable due to Scotland commitments (maybe it has been edited?)

    I am very surprised that no journo is reporting on the non reporting of Gilchrist’s disciplinery hearing – you guys should be all over it. What it the game?

  4. You look down the team sheets and man for man we should be as good as Leinster. That back row is all international. So really no excuse for the weakness of the team. It comes down to individual execution on the day and the team performance. Leinster have an incredible record of playing with such accuracy whoever they pick. Now is the time for Edinburgh to match them.


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