JAMIE RITCHIE will make his comeback from the hamstring injury he suffered playing for Scotland against England at the start of February when he captains Edinburgh in their pre-season friendly against London Scottish at the DAM Health Stadium tomorrow [Friday] night.
The 26-year-old back-row is one of four Scotland caps in the starting lineup, alongside Jamie Hodgson, Marshall Sykes (both locks) and James Lang (centre).
Elsewhere, summer signing Nick Auterac (loosehead prop) and academy wing Jake Henry both feature in an Edinburgh side for the first time, with the latter fresh from Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games action. Henry Immelman is named at full-back after recovering from a knee injury sustained at the tail end of last season, while Jack Blain returns from a summer in Australia with Warringah Rugby Club to take the other wing slot.
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“We’re really excited to kickstart our season at home and the boys are fired up to get back into competitive games after a really tough, but rewarding, pre-season block,” said Edinburgh head coach Mike Blair.
“Our players always look forward to pulling on the Edinburgh jersey and representing the city, while there are a lot of younger academy guys getting their first taste of rugby at this level. We’re eager to see how they step up to the test.
“London Scottish are a week ahead of us in terms of pre-season preparations, having faced Harlequins last weekend, so they’ll be in good shape and travelling north with confidence.
“It’s set up to be a cracking game of rugby and we can’t wait to get back out there in front of our passionate home support.”
Three players from Super6 – flanker Connor Gordon (Stirling Wolves), lock Kwagga van Niekerk (Watsonians) and winger Korie Winters (Southern Knights) – have been named on the bench, as have been academy prospects Patrick Harrison, Jamie Campbell, Cammy Scott and Finn Douglas, as well as Jamie Jack who was recruited from Ampthill at the tail-end of last season but did not get any game time.
Meanwhile, there are a couple of familiar faces in the London Scottish line-up, including recent national under-20s stars Nathan Chamberlain (a stand-off who was on Edinburgh’s books last year), Robbie McCallum (an inside-centre who moved south in the summer after leaving the academy) and Cameron Anderson (a full-back), while Dan Nutton (a scrum-half who featured for Edinburgh whilst playing super6 with Heriot’s) is on the bench.
Edinburgh Rugby (versus London Scottish at DAM Health Stadium in the Scottish Building Society pre-season friendly on Friday @ 6.45pm): H Immelman; J Blain, J Lang (VC), C Dean, J Henry; C Savala, C Shiel; N Auterac, A McBurney, A Williams, M Sykes, J Hodgson, J Ritchie (C), C Boyle (VC), B Muncaster. Replacements: J Jack, H Courtney, P Harrison, L Atalifo, D Gamble, J Campbell, P Philips, C Gordon, N Haining, K van Niekerk, H Pyrgos, B Vellacott, J van der Walt, F Douglas, C Hutchison, C Scott, M Currie, K Winters, D Hoyland.
London Scottish: C Anderson; N Ferdinand, H Hyde, R McCallum, J Gillespie; N Chamberlain, L Petrozzi; F Baxter, S Riley, J Rees, M Jurevicius, M Wilkinson, B Tuilagi, W Trenholm, C King. Replacements: C Terry, E Chilvers, S Gratton, A Southon, V Tuilani, D Nutton, H Shepherd, C Ingall, A Wallis, W Hobson, C Cleaves, C Slevin, E Hoadley.