Edinburgh v Zebre: Mike Blair rings the changes for visit of URC strugglers

Blair Kinghorn switches from stand-off to wing

Edinburgh's Blair Kinghorn has switched from stand-off to wing for this weekend's clash against Zebre. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Edinburgh's Blair Kinghorn has switched from stand-off to wing for this weekend's clash against Zebre. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

HOOKER Dave Cherry (out with a hamstring injury since October) and No 8 Nick Haining (out for the last month with a calf injury) will return to action to add international experience to the Edinburgh pack as they look to get their season back on track against winless URC strugglers Zebre at the DAM Health Stadium tomorrow [Saturday].

Head coach Mike Blair has made nine changes in total to the side which started last weekend’s defeat to Glasgow. There are six back-three players listed as unavailable which may help explain why Blair Kinghorn has been switched from stand-off to the left wing, with Jack Blain coming on to the right wing. Meanwhile, Cammy Hutchison makes his first start of the season at inside-centre, and Charlie Savala starts at No 10 alongside Charlie Shiel coming in at scrum-half.

In the pack, Angus Williams starts at tight-head prop, Jamie Hodgson comes into the second-row, and Connor Boyle starts at open-side flanker in a re-shuffled back-row which features Luke Crosbie moving to blindside and taking on the captaincy


Glasgow v Stormers: Franco Smith makes five changes for clash against URC champions

Adam Hastings latest injury blow for Scotland ahead of Six Nations

Premiership: prolific Craig Robertson says Heriot’s Blues are ready for relegation battle


“We’re really excited to give a number of players their opportunity this weekend and they’ll be raring to step up and represent the city in a hugely important fixture for the club,” said Blair.

“We’ve talked a lot this week around those one, two, three percenters and we’ve worked a lot on individual prep and detail that will stand us in good stead heading into Saturday.

“Zebre Parma ran us really close last season, at home, so we know how dangerous they can be if they get space and momentum.”

 

Edinburgh (v Zebre at The DAM Health Stadium, Saturday 7th January, kick-off 3pm): H Paterson; J Blain, M Bennett, C Hutchison, B Kinghorn; C Savala, C Shiel; B Venter, D Cherry, A Williams, S Skinner, J Hodgson, L Crosbie, C Boyle, N Haining. Substitutes: P Harrison, N Auterac, L de Bruin, M Sykes, V Mata, B Vellacott, J van der Walt, C J Lang.

Unavailable: Emiliano Boffelli, Matt Currie, Chris Dean, Wes Goosen, Darcy Graham, Damien Hoyland, Henry Immelman, Adam McBurney, Stuart McInally, Pierce Phillips, Duhan van der Merwe, Hamish Watson.

Rest protocol: Grant Gilchrist, WP Nel, Jamie Ritchie, Pierre Schoeman.


Glasgow v Stormers: Franco Smith makes five changes for clash against URC champions

About David Barnes 3182 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.

11 Comments

  1. Mike Blair persists in playing Blair kinghorn at FH which is clearly not his position….much better to use an experienced stand-off such as Jaco or Ben Healy. I’m sure that results would improve.

  2. Should have enough in the tank for this game, despite being under strength. The main question will be the bonus point, anything less will be a real set-back. We can’t keep dropping points against our direct group opposition after already dropping the ball against Benetton and Glasgow.

  3. banana skin waiting to happen or 2nd XV to step up and win comfortablY? Has to be one or the other

    Edin results are poor. Best performance was loss (v Sarries). Otherwise flat track bullies
    There is a bit of 2nd season syndrome, but we shouldn’t get carried away by that – last season Glasgow had an awful season, sacked the coach. Edin finished the league 4 points ahead of Glasgow, same number of wins, hardly stellar

    • Afraid you’re right too, Sceptic,.I thought we got away with it last season but…..
      When Zebre at home becomes make or break, we’re in trouble 🙄

  4. Blair’s having a sticky 2nd season. We actually went into the international break in reasonable form with pretty much a 2nd string winning away in Parma and Cardiff. The latter turned out to be our last league win which was way back in October. We were in 5th at that point but something happened over the break. The team has misfired since with our 2nd halfs being a real concern.

    Our fitness is miles off with both Munster and Glasgow having dominance in the 2nd 40s. We’ve got injuries but who doesn’t and we can still put a side out which has plenty of international players. There’s plenty of quality in the team and Healey will be a welcome addition but it doesn’t seem to be hitting the heights that it could. Fingers crossed we get our act together and make a push up the table, a couple of wins on the bounce can make a real difference or as some of the other commentators have said maybe the honeymoon period is over and we’re seeing the team and coaches true colours.

    3
    1
  5. Agree with both of you, I’m afraid that MB has been found out and of their wins this season, only the Cardiff result stands out. Perhaps unlike yourselves, I’m not particularly surprised as I thought we were naive at times last season. I like Mike but I think we’re missing someone grounded enough in the coaching team to talk a bit of sense into him. It’s all very well the players enjoying coming into training but if results aren’t what they should be it’s time to get tough.
    A more direct approach, with less focus on going wide every time we’re in possession might not be as good to watch but less mistakes would result even if only in the short term.

    • With you there. I never understood the hullaballoo about last season, especially the trajectory in the 2nd half of the season.

      Blair bought himself some time by changing the style and introducing Vellacott and Kinghorn as the main half-backs. We surprised a few teams with our tempo and expansive style but you could see the opposition teams adapt as the season went on.

      The Sarries performance is looking very much like the exception that proves the rule now.

      Anyway, lots of players with things to prove today so let’s hope this is the start of some kind of renaissance.

  6. Embro really need to get get back on track or this season is heading for a cliff edge.

    After a promising start to his time as head coach, Blair is coming under increasing pressure to turn thing round.

    Will he still be in the running for the Scotland job if things go totally Pete Tong?

    • Can’t see supporters accepting a rookie head coach with an indifferent record. At least Glasgow under Townsend won the Pro14 and played some good stuff. Unless Scotland by some miracle manage to get out of the RWC Group, Townsend’s time with the national will come to a natural end.

  7. Nice to see some of the younger/fringe players getting game time. The injury list is fairly growing and so not much choice in some areas. This is the one team they can probably get away with it against and so I hope the rested players enjoy the rest and this is not the banana skin that it could be.

    Interesting to note that Edinburghs paltry 4 wins out of 11 in the URC have been against Zebre, Benneton, Cardiff and Dragons. With the internationals to come they are going to need a good win here and then some more in the next few months to make the top 8. I am not as confident as i was a few months ago. They have Sharks at home and still 3 of the Irish teams to play. Thats a tough finish.

    • Mike Blair persists in playing Blair kinghorn at FH which is clearly not his position….much better to use an experienced stand-off such as Jaco or Ben Healy. I’m sure that results would improve.

Leave a Reply

Please be respectful in your replies. Abusive language is automatically blocked. Your email address will not be published.


*