DAMIEN Hoyland is back from a year-long injury lay-off to take his place in Edinburgh’s starting line-up for tomorrow night’s game against Cardiff, while Mark Bennett is poised to make his return off the bench after being sidelined for five months.
Hoyland is one of the six changes to the side from the team that beat the Dragons last week, taking over from Scotland substitute Darcy Graham on the right wing. Juan Pablo Socino is at inside centre in place of Chris Dean, who has travelled to Paris with the national squad as an extra man. The other change in the back division for the PRO14 fixture against the Blues is at scrum-half, where Nathan Fowles takes over from Henry Pyrgos, who has also gone to France as cover. Charlie Shiel is on the bench as back-up for Fowles.
Up front, David Cherry takes over at hooker from Ross Ford, Ben Toolis is replaced at lock by Callum Hunter-Hill, and Ally Miller comes in at blindside for Magnus Bradbury, who starts for Scotland just a week after playing so impressively on his return from injury. Bennett, who has been out of action since September, is joined on the bench by Senitiki Nayalo, who like Shiel has made only one competitive appearance for Edinburgh.
“We’re missing a few more bodies this week due to international call-ups, but we have a strong desire to win and the capability to do so,” head coach Richard Cockerill said. “These games are all important in the run towards the play-offs, so I’m expecting the boys to leave everything out there in order to get the right result.”
Edinburgh (v Cardiff Blues at BT Murrayfield, Saturday 7.35pm, live on Premier Sports): Dougie Fife; Damien Hoyland, James Johnstone, Juan Pablo Socino, Duhan van der Merwe; Jaco van der Walt, Nathan Fowles; Pierre Schoeman, David Cherry, Pietro Ceccarelli, Fraser McKenzie, Callum Hunter-Hill, Ally Miller, Luke Crosbie, Bill Mata. Substitutes: Ross Ford, Rory Sutherland, Murray McCallum, Jamie Hodgson, Senitiki Nayalo, Charlie Shiel, Simon Hickey, Mark Bennett.