Scotland quartet return to Edinburgh ranks for South Africa double-header

But others stay at home and will miss the URC matches against the Sharks and the Lions

Mark Bennett
Mark Bennett came off the bench for Scotland against Ireland and is in the Edinburgh squad for two games in South Africa. Image: © Craig Watson.

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.


About Stuart Bathgate 1438 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. Kind of odd balance alright. 5 centres, only 4 covering back row, and only 4 covering the back three – unless you include one of the stand offs : ) ), fingers crossed we don’t pick up injuries or we could end up looking quite make-shift.
    Shame we couldn’t take a full strength squad but you could see that coming, players like Schoemann, Watson and Gilchrist have had a massive schedule the last few months. Two out of the next three games would be a very satisfactory series.
    Fingers crossed.

  2. A quite sizeable squad for the 2 games in SA which makes sense. 15 backs and 17 forwards but worryingly only 4 back ow forwards unless I have missed something and two of those (Boyle and Muncaster) inexperienced. Think that Edinburgh could as a result be exposed at the breakdown.

  3. This is going to be a critical 2 games for Edinburgh. The SA teams are advancing up the table rapidly with a series of home games. The four teams that have just finished their 2 game stint lost all their games with only Munster competitive. Im currently in Cape Town and watched the Stormers v Cardiff yesterday. They totally dominated them in stiflingly hot conditions. Edinburgh need to win one of these games otherwise they will get overhauled by all of the top 3 SA teams – Bulls, Stormers and Sharks. They could all be targeting a top 4 slot if they win all their home games so the URC is getting very interesting.

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