EDINBURGH’s URC match against the Ospreys tomorrow may be a dead rubber, but head coach Mike Blair has selected a strong side nonetheless, with only four changes from the team that began the Champions Cup defeat by Leicester a fortnight ago.
In the back line, Damien Hoyland replaces Duhan van der Merwe on the left wing for what will be his final home game before leaving the club, while Ben Vellacott takes over at scrum-half from Henry Pyrgos, another who will part company with the team at the end of the season.
Up front, Dave Cherry is at hooker instead of Stuart McInally and Marshall Sykes is at lock in place of Grant Gilchrist, who has a foot injury. In addition to Gilchrist, Jack Blain, Luke Crosbie, Matt Currie, Wes Goosen, Nick Haining, Henry Immelman, Ben Muncaster and Harry Paterson are all listed as unavailable.
“This is a massive game for both our players and the fans,” said Blair. “The results haven’t gone our way, but we’ve been working especially hard in training to change this around and we want to put in a display that will make the Edinburgh supporters proud.
“It’s Fan Appreciation Night and we’re expecting a really good crowd at DAM Health Stadium for our home finale. It should be an electric atmosphere from kick-off which will drive our players on.
“There are guys playing their final home game for the club, while there are also guys who’ll be keen to show what they’re about ahead of a big summer of rugby. Every player pulling on the jersey will be motivated for what is a really important match for the club.”
After tomorrow’s match, Edinburgh’s last remaining game of the campaign is agaijnst Ulster in Belfast next Friday night.
Edinburgh (v Ospreys at the DAM Health Stadium, Saturday 7.35pm): E Boffelli; D Graham, M Bennett, J Lang, D Hoyland; B Kinghorn, B Vellacott; P Schoeman, D Cherry, W Nel, M Sykes, S Skinner, J Ritchie (captain), H Watson, V Mata. Substitutes: S McInally, B Venter, L de Bruin, J Hodgson, C Boyle, H Pyrgos, C Dean, D van der Merwe.
Ospreys: I Hopkins; G North, M Collins, K Williams, L Morgan; O Williams, R Webb (captain); G Thomas, D Lake, T Botha, A Beard, A-W Jones, R Davies, D Lydiate, M Morris. Substitutes: S Parry, N Smith, T Francis, H Sutton, E Roots, R Morgan-Williams, G Anscombe, M Nagy.