EDINBURGH head coach Richard Cockerill has made nine changes to his team to take on Munster tomorrow night (Friday), omitting most of the first-team regulars who took part in the Autumn Internationals. The Irish province have made 11 alterations to their starting line-up, which looks ominously strong with the inclusion of Test players such as Keith Earls and captain Peter O’Mahony.
Former Melrose back George Taylor makes his competitive debut for Edinburgh at centre, back-row forward Lewis Wynne starts for the first time, and prop Darryl Marfo is poised to make his first start of the season off the bench. Senitiki Nayalo, who has been out injured for much of the time since signing in the summer, will also make his debut if he comes off the bench.
Cockerill said earlier this week that, with the double-header against Newcastle Falcons coming up, he had to make the Champions Cup the priority as opposed to this PRO14 game. While that decision explains some of the selections, the fact that the team’s last match was as recently as Sunday has also influenced the selection.
“We’ve got a young group again, but part of our development as a squad is that we have got to put people in a position to grow,” the coach said. “It’s been a tight turnaround with regards to training, but we have prepared as well as we can and we will travel with the mind set to win.”
Edinburgh (v Munster at Irish Independent Park, Cork, Friday 7.35pm, live on Premier Sports 2): Dougie Fife; Tom Brown, George Taylor Juan Pablo Socino, Duhan van der Merwe; Jaco van der Walt, Nathan Fowles; Rory Sutherland, David Cherry, Murray McCallum, Jamie Hodgson, Callum Hunter-Hill, Ally Miller, Lewis Wynne, Luke Hamilton (captain). Subs: Ross Ford, Darryl Marfo, Pietro Ceccarelli, Callum Atkinson, Senitiki Nayalo, Sean Kennedy, Jason Baggott, Chris Dean.
Munster: Mike Haley; Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; JJ Hanrahan, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan, Tadhg Beirne, Billy Holland, Peter O’Mahony (captain), Chris Cloete, Arno Botha. Subs: Kevin O’Byrne, Jeremy Loughman, Ciaran Parker, Fineen Wycherley, Gavin Coombes, Duncan Williams, Tyler Bleyendaal, Sammy Arnold.