Edinburgh v Glasgow: century up for capital kid Blair Kinghorn

Duhan van der Merwe joins fellow Lions Hamish Watson and Rory Sutherland on the injured player list

Blair Kinghorn
Blair Kinghorn returns at stand-off against Zebre as Edinburgh aim to build on an encouraging start to the season. Image: © Craig Watson.

BLAIR KINGHORN will become the youngest player to reach 100 Edinburgh Rugby appearances tomorrow night when he returns to the capital side for their match against Glasgow Warriors at Murrayfield.

Born and raised in the capital, Kinghorn will surpass the feat of former scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (24 years and 169 days) in becoming the club’s 35th centurion aged 24 years and 117 days, five years on from his debut against Benetton Rugby at the national stadium in October 2016.

The full-back – who has also racked up 25 caps for his country – returns from compassionate leave to replace Duhan van der Merwe, who has a tight back, with Damien Hoyland moving to wing and Eroni Sau completing the back three.

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A new midfield partnership of Chris Dean and James Johnstone starts the match – with centre George Taylor moving to the bench – while 21-year-old stand-off Charlie Savala comes in for Nathan Chamberlain to make his first home appearance alongside Henry Pyrgos at half-back.

A further three starting changes are made to the pack, with co-captain and hooker Stuart McInally – who made a try-scoring return from injury as a replacement last weekend – accompanying Pierre Schoeman and WP Nel in the front-row, with Mike Willemse joining the squad as replacement hooker.

Forwards Marshall Sykes (lock) and Mesu Kunavula (back-row) are promoted from the bench in place of injured pair Grant Gilchrist and Jamie Ritchie, with Ally Miller and Connor Boyle taking their vacated forwards replacements berths on the bench.

Back-row Luke Crosbie, lock Jamie Hodgson and No 8 Viliame Mata are reselected and complete the pack.

“We’ve worked hard to address a few things our game that contributed to a frustrating defeat to Glasgow last weekend, while also ensuring some of the parts that went well continue to be a source of strength for us,” said head coach Richard Cockerill.

“Every time we pull on an Edinburgh shirt we play to win and we’ve picked a side we feel has a good balance of experienced internationalists, those competing for places and some young, up-and-coming prospects in our squad, who get a chance alongside some seasoned pros.

“We’re still very much in this competition and tomorrow’s game will play a big part in whether that remains to be the case, so we’ll be going out there to front up physically, first and foremost, get our basics right, and put a marker down for the standards we expect from one to 15.”

Edinburgh (v Glasgow Warriors at Murrayfield, Saturday @ 7.35pm): B Kinghorn, D Hoyland, J Johnstone, C Dean, E Sau; C Savala, H Pyrgos; P Schoeman, S McInally, W Nel, M Sykes, J Hodgson, M Kunavula, L Crosbie, V Mata. Subs: M Willemse, B Venter, L Atalifo, A Miller, C Boyle, C Shiel, J Blain, G Taylor.

Unavailable through injury (19): Magnus Bradbury, Lewis Carmichael, Matt Currie, Andrew Davidson, Andries Ferreira, Dan Gamble, Grant Gilchrist, Darcy Graham, Sam Grahamslaw, Nick Haining, Dan Nutton, Freddie Owsley, Jamie Ritchie, Rory Sutherland, Nathan Sweeney, Ben Toolis, Duhan van der Merwe, Jaco van der Walt, Hamish Watson.

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About David Barnes 3818 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.