JACO van der Walt, Grant Gilchrist and Dave Cherry have all been released by Scotland and will start for Edinburgh against Munster at Murrayfield tomorrow (Saturday). Damien Hoyland makes his competitive return at full-back in place of Blair Kinghorn, who is still injured, and prop Boan Venter and centre Matt Currie are set to make their debuts off the bench.
“We’re pleased to welcome a number of players back from injury and Scotland duty into the side this week, which adds some extra firepower for a hugely important fixture,” head coach Richard Cockerill said. “Tomorrow’s match is the first of three huge home games on the bounce for us, so we’ll be going out there to put a marker down and continue our climb of the table in order to secure a seat at the top table of European Cup competition next season.
“It’ll be a big challenge against the Conference leaders, who have lost only two games this season, but it’s one I know the players are really looking forward to and is a challenge they’re highly motivated by.”
Eight players are listed as “unavailable through international selection”: Simon Berghan, Rory Darge, Willem Nel, Jamie Ritchie, Rory Sutherland, George Taylor, Duhan van der Merwe and Hamish Watson. Taylor, while having trained with the Scotland squad, is currently serving a three-match ban. Darge, like Taylor uncapped at senior level, has also been training with the national team.
Munster are ten points clear of Connacht at the top of Conference B. Edinburgh are fifth, 23 points adrift of the leaders, although they do have at least one game in hand on all of the teams above them.
Edinburgh (v Munster at Murrayfield, Saturday 7.35pm): D Hoyland; J Blain, M Bennett, C Dean, E Sau; J van der Walt, H Pyrgos; P Schoeman, D Cherry, L Atalifo, A Davidson, G Gilchrist, N Haining, L Crosbie V Mata. Substitutes: M Willemse, B Venter, M McCallum, M Bradbury, A Miller, C Shiel, N Chamberlain, M Currie.
Munster: M Haley; A Conway, C Farrell, D de Allende, S Daly; J Hanrahan, C Casey; J Cronin, N Scannell, J Ryan, J Kleyn, W Holland (captain), J O’Donoghue, C Cloete, G Coombes. Substitutes: K O’Byrne, J Loughman, S Archer, F Wycherley, J O’Sullivan, N McCarthy, B Healy, R Scannell.
Referee: M Adamson (Scotland).