Five key players set to miss out on Edinburgh’s Stormers showdown

Head coach Sean Everitt says resting the quintet should pay off in the longer term

Ewan Ashman
Ewan Ashman is one of the Edinburgh players who have travelled to South Africa but will be rested this weekend. Image: © Craig Watson. www.craigwatson.co.uk

ALL seven players who were listed by Edinburgh as “returning Scotland internationals” have travelled with the squad to South Africa – but only two will be involved in Saturday’s URC match against the Stormers.

Sam Skinner, who came off the bench last week against Ireland, and Ben Healy, who continued to train with the national squad but was not part of the matchday 23 in Dublin, are the two who are set to play in the match in Cape Town. Ewan Ashman, Grant Gilchrist, Jamie Ritchie, Pierre Schoeman and Duhan van der Merwe are the five who will sit out this weekend’s game but will be available for the match against the Sharks in Durban the following Saturday.

“The majority of our Scotland internationals will be available for the second game,” head coach Sean Everitt said earlier today (Tuesday). “Unfortunately for us not all of them have been released [for the first game], but rightly so. 


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“They’ve had a busy Six Nations, one of their closest competitions for many years. They deserve a rest and at Edinburgh we respect the pressures that are on our international players. 

“We’ve got a guy like Ewan Ashman who has come out here with us. He is available to play, but I understand he’s had a really busy six weeks away from home so he will be resting this week. We just want to give them every opportunity to be back on song for the rest of the season.”

In addition to the quintet who will not be involved on Saturday, Edinburgh have six players on their injury list – see below – at present. Ali Price is also unavailable, having stayed at home to await the birth of his first child.

But Hamish Watson and WP Nel, who had only minimal involvement with the Scotland camp during the Six Nations, are also expected to be involved when fourth-placed Edinburgh take on the Stormers, who are currently just outside the play-off positions in ninth place. “You can see by the log it’s really tight,” Everitt added. 

“The Stormers are sitting in ninth – they’re only four points behind us. If we don’t get a win this weekend we could find ourselves in ninth position. So it is something that probably won’t be decided until the final round of the URC, who finishes in the top eight and top four.

“I think any of the top eight or nine teams just now would have an opportunity to challenge for a place in the top four. I’m sure that’s what those teams will be playing for rather than playing against the name of the opposition.”

 

 

While the tightness of the table means there is scant margin for error, Everitt insisted that, with a lot of rugby still to be played before the end of the regular season, the odd defeat will not be fatal for any team.  

“There are still seven games to be played. We’ve got home games as well, so if you do slip up in one of your games away from home then it’s not the end of the world,” he said.

“It’s about how you get back on the horse. But every win you can get away from home is an absolute bonus. We’re going out on Saturday to beat the Stormers.”

Of course beating the Stormers, especially on their own patch, is easier said than done – as Everitt, a former Sharks coach, knows all too well.

“Coming to Cape Town is always a difficult task as Stormers have done exceptionally well here over the last two campaigns,” he continued. “They rarely lose at the DHL Stadium. They’re a very good team that’s also grown depth over their squad.

“Bringing our team here, like any northern-hemisphere team, is always a challenge. But the belief is there. Edinburgh got a win over the Sharks here two years ago and the Ospreys got a win over the Lions at Ellis Park several weeks ago. So there’s a bit of belief building that teams can be beaten in South Africa and that’s a mindset we’ve got to take over these two games.

“If we look at the past games, the northern-hemisphere teams have found it hard to win here. So we have to get the players to believe. We’ve had two games at home against South African teams and on their day we can beat any of them.

“We beat the Bulls who are on fire at the moment but have to believe we can also beat these teams away from home. Edinburgh had a taste of success before and it’s still spoken about as I was a coach at the Sharks at the time! 

“There’s a vast difference between playing in Scotland at this time of year and playing in the hot sun. If we look at the weather for Saturday it doesn’t look too bad but it’s about us getting used to the conditions.”

 

Edinburgh touring squad for South African double-header:

Forwards: Dave Cherry, Paddy Harrison, Boan Venter, Luan de Bruin, WP Nel, Javan Sebastian, Jamie Hodgson, Marshall Sykes, Tom Dodd, Ben Muncaster,  Connor Boyle, Hamish Watson, Bill Mata.

Backs: Ben Vellacott, Charlie Shiel, Cammy Scott, Chris Dean, Matt Currie, Mark Bennett, James Lang, Jake Henry, Wes Goosen, Emiliano Boffelli.

“Scotland internationalists”: Ben Healy, Sam Skinner, Duhan van der Merwe, Ewan Ashman, Grant Gilchrist, Jamie Ritchie, Pierre Schoeman.

Injured: Luke Crosbie (shoulder), Darcy Graham (groin), Robin Hislop (knee), Harry Paterson (foot), Nathan Sweeney (groin), Glen Young (ankle).


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About Stuart Bathgate 1392 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.

9 Comments

  1. Why is Ashman being rested exactly? He has not started a 6N game and within that period has had two weeks off and in total only played 50 minutes in last two weeks. Has he really been over played?

    • Possibly because the coach knows how his players are within themselves and that the following two weeks they play Sharks and Bayonne. There is more to rugby than just playing the 80 minutes on the pitch. David Cherry is a pretty good hooker.

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  2. Going to be an interesting couple of weeks, do well and cold consolidate Fourth, bad and we could slip down as far as 7/8th …. ! Scary.

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  3. Not sure it can be considered an away fixture anymore when the team is coached by Shaun Everett and contains
    Schoeman, Duhan, luan de Bruin, Goosen, venter and Nel.

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    • If you’re going to complain, at least spell the head coaches name correctly.

      So do you not count playing at Scotstoun as an away game then?🙄

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