HAMISH WATSON and Duhan van Der Merwe will both have final hit-outs ahead of this summer’s British and Irish Lions tour when Edinburgh take on Ulster at Murrayfield tomorrow [Saturday] night, while Rory Sutherland is still on the comeback trail after injuring his shoulder during the Six Nations.
Head coach Richard Cockerill has blended experience with youth for this second last game of the 2020-21 season. He has handed 19-year-old Harry Paterson his debut at full-back, 18-year-old Patrick Harrison his first start at hooker and 19-year-old Ben Muncaster another run at No8, but is also using the game to bring Ben Toolis back into the fold after a long-standing toe injury.
Two Super6 players in centre Cammy Hutchison (Heriot’s Rugby) and back-row Harri Morris (Southern Knights) have been named on the bench.
In total, there are 10 changes to the side which started in the defeat to Glasgow Warriors last time out, with Blair Kinghorn selected at stand-off.
“We’re pleased to welcome the return of some quality, experienced players alongside some exciting young talent for our final match at BT Murrayfield,” said Cockerill.
“It’s been no secret we’ve missed a number of players throughout this campaign so to see them back is a real boost for this weekend, and also as we look ahead to a full pre-season in preparation for life in our new home.
“Their experience will be invaluable to the young players who have developed alongside them in training this season and now get either another or a first chance to put a performance out there in an Edinburgh shirt and show us what they’re about.
“Ulster are a quality and consistent opponent. They’ve shown that throughout this season’s Guinness PRO14 competitions so we’re under no illusions how hard we’re going to have to work, and well we’re going to have to play, if we’re to come away with the result.”
Meanwhile, Ulster have named Adam McBurney – who will join Edinburgh next season – at hooker, in a strong side which will be led by Lion Iain Henderson.
Edinburgh (v Ulster at Murrayfield, Saturday @ 7.15pm): H Paterson; E Sau, J Johnstone, G Taylor, D van der Merwe; B Kinghorn, C Shiel; B Venter, P Harrison, W Nel, M Sykes, B Toolis, J Ritchie, H Watson, B Muncaster. Subs: M Willemse, P Schoeman, S Berghan, M Kunavula, H Morris, H Pyrgos, N Chamberlain, C Hutchison.
Ulster: R Lyttle; M Faddes, J Hume, S McCloskey, C Gilroy; I Madigan, D Shanahan; K McCall, A McBurney, M Moore, A O’Connor, I Henderson (C), M Rea, M Rea, N Timoney. Subs: R Herring, A Warwick, T O’Toole, K Treadwell, G Jones, A Mathewson, B Burns, M Lowry.
- Unavailable for Edinburgh (23): Connor Boyle, Magnus Bradbury, David Cherry, Luke Crosbie, Matt Currie, Andrew Davidson, Andries Ferreira, Dan Gamble, Darcy Graham, Grant Gilchrist, Jamie Hodgson, Damien Hoyland, Nick Haining, Viliame Mata, Ally Miller, Stuart McInally, Dan Nutton, Freddie Owsley, Charlie Savala, Rory Sutherland, Jaco van der Walt, Jordan Venter, Angus Williams.