EDINBURGH head coach Richard Cockerill has handed 19-year-old Ben Muncaster his professional debut in the No8 shirt for tomorrow night’s Rainbow Cup opening weekend tie against Zebre at Murrayfield.
He is joined in the pack by 21-year-old Marshall Sykes in the second-row, making his second start and only fourth appearance for the club.
Meanwhile, in the backline, 20-year-old Matt Currie gets his first start at outside centre, and 21-year-old Nathan Chamberlain is at stand-off.
“The Rainbow Cup presents us with a great opportunity to get some quality game into some of the many promising young players being developed at the club,” said Cockerill.
“These guys have worked hard on the pitch and in the gym all season long and have earned the right to put themselves out there, show what they’re about and make a case for more game time in this campaign and beyond.
“The team has some experience around it too, which should count for a lot in helping them develop into the game against a good Zebre side.”
Hamish Watson is listed as injured but Cockerill has stated that it this is more of a precaution and he expects the flanker to be back to play against Glasgow Warriors in a fortnight’s time.
Youngsters listed on the bench include 18-year-old hooker Patrick Harrison and 20-year-old scrum-half Roan Frostwick, plus buck-row Connor Boyle and wing Jack Blain, who are both 21.
Edinburgh (v Zebre at Murrayfield, Friday @ 8.15pm): B Kinghorn; D Hoyland, M Currie, G Taylor, E Sau; N Chamberlain, C Shiel; B Venter, M Willemse, L Atalifo, M Sykes, J Hodgson, M Kunavula, L Crosbie©, B Muncaster. Subs: P Harrison, P Schoeman, W Nel, V Mata, C Boyle, R Frostwick, J Blain, C Dean.
Unavailable through injury (16): Magnus Bradbury, Simon Berghan, Lewis Carmichael, Andrew Davidson, Andries Ferreira, Dan Gamble, Darcy Graham, Sam Grahamslaw, Nick Haining, Cameron Hutchison, Stuart McInally, Charlie Savala, Rory Sutherland, Ben Toolis, Jaco van der Walt, Hamish Watson.