DARCY Graham makes his much-anticipated return from injury tomorrow night as one of seven changes in the Edinburgh starting line-up for the Challenge Cup match against Wasps. A quad strain has kept the right-winger out of action since the World Cup.
Graham takes the place of Eroni Sau, while there are three other changes in the back division from the selection that began last week’s PRo14 win in Munster. James Johnstone and George Taylor take over at centre from Mark Bennett and Matt Scott respectively, and Simon Hickey replaces Jaco van der Walt at stand-off.
Up front, Simon Berghan is at tighthead instead of Pietro Ceccarelli, and there are two alterations to the back row, with Jamie Ritchie in for Magnus Bradbury at blindside and Nick Haining returning from suspension to take the place of Bill Mata at No 8.
“It’s going to be a great battle,” head coach Richard Cockerill said. “Wasps are a good team, but we know that if we put our best game on the field, we’ll more than compete with them.
“However, if we’re sloppy and inaccurate then they will punish us. They’ve got an All Black in the centre, they’ve got an All Black at 10 and they’ve got Jimmy Gopperth, a former All Black playing at 12 – so they’ve got some real quality there. We will need to be on it, but we’re excited to get back in front of our home support at BT Murrayfield.”
John Barclay, Lewis Carmichael, David Cherry, Luke Crosbie, Rory Darge, Chris Dean, Fraser McKenzie, WP Nel, Sau and Scott are all listed as unavailable.
Edinburgh (v Wasps at BT Murrayfield, Friday 7.35pm): B Kinghorn; D Graham, J Johnstone, G Taylor, D van der Merwe; S Hickey, H Pyrgos; P Schoeman, S McInally, S Berghan, B Toolis, G Gilchrist, J Ritchie, H Watson, N Haining. Subs: M Willemse, J Bhatti, P Ceccarelli, S Thomson, V Mata, N Groom, J van der Walt, D Hoyland.