EDINBURGH coach Mike Blair has welcomed back four Scotland internationals to his squad for the URC double-header in South Africa, but will have to do without other key members of the national squad.
Mark Bennett, Blair Kinghorn, Pierre Schoeman and Hamish Watson are the quartet who are included in the 32-man squad for the games against the Sharks in Durban this Saturday and the Lions in Johannesburg a week later. Bennett came off the bench in Scotland’s 26-5 defeat by Ireland on Saturday, while the other three started.
Grant Gilchrist, Darcy Graham and WP Nel are the trio who will not travel to South Africa after taking part in the Six Nations match, while Stuart McInally, who was retained by the national team last week but was not in the 23 that faced Ireland, will also stay at home.
“This two-week tour is going to be a brilliant challenge for the club and we’re really excited to face two excellent teams in the Sharks and Lions,” Blair said. “Being based in South Africa and getting to grips with challenging conditions and fast tracks, while facing off against different players – many of whom are Springboks – is what makes the URC such a different and fascinating league.
“We’re looking forward to getting out to Durban early this week, with preparations well under way for Saturday’s clash against an in-form Sharks side.”
Both Saturday’s match at King’s Park and the Lions game at Ellis Park kick off at 3.05pm British time, 5.05pm local.
Edinburgh squad (for URC matches v the Sharks and the Lions): Backs: Mark Bennett, Emiliano Boffelli, Matt Currie, Chris Dean, Cammy Hutchison, Henry Immelman, Blair Kinghorn, James Lang, Ramiro Moyano, Freddie Owsley, Henry Pyrgos, Charlie Savala, Charlie Shiel, Jaco van der Walt, Ben Vellacott. Forwards: Lee-Roy Atalifo, Connor Boyle, Magnus Bradbury, Luan de Bruin, Dave Cherry, Harrison Courtney, Patrick Harrison, Jamie Hodgson, Adam McBurney, Ben Muncaster, Pierce Phillips, Pierre Schoeman, Marshall Sykes, Boan Venter, Hamish Watson, Angus Williams, Glen Young.