Leicester v Edinburgh: Scotland stars return for Champions Cup last 16 clash

Capital club must win to keep their season alive

Duhan van der Merwe returns on the wing for Edinburgh against Leicester Tigers on Friday night. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Duhan van der Merwe returns on the wing for Edinburgh against Leicester Tigers on Friday night. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

FIVE members of Scotland’s Six Nations squad have been added to Edinburgh’s starting XV for their Champions Cup round of 16 clash against Leicester Tigers at Welford Road tomorrow [Friday] evening.

Prop Pierre Schoeman, flankers Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson, and wing Duhan van der Merwe all return after being rested last week, while WP Nel takes over the No 3 jersey having featured off the bench in the URC defeat to Connacht.

This match is must-win for Edinburgh to keep their season alive. They can no longer qualify for the play-offs of the URC so their final two league games against Ospreys and Ulster are now dead-rubbers.

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“Heineken Champions Cup knockout rugby, Friday night lights and a packed out Welford Road – these are the occasions you truly relish as a player and it’s a privilege to lead this club into our biggest game of the season,” said head coach Mike Blair.

“Some of Edinburgh’s biggest moments have come on the European stage and we understand how significant this match is to everyone connected to the club – fans, sponsors, players and staff alike.

“It will be a brilliant moment kickstarting the Heineken Champions Round of 16 tomorrow night, going up against the English Champions on their home patch. We’re hugely excited for the opportunity to represent the city at such a historic ground.”


Edinburgh (v Leicester Tigers at Welford Road on Friday @ 8pm): E Boffelli; D Graham, M Bennett, J Lang, D van der Merwe; B Kinghorn, H Pyrgos; P Schoeman, S McInally, W Nel, S Skinner, G Gilchrist (co-captain), J Ritchie (co-captain), H Watson, V Mata. Substitutes: D Cherry, B Venter, L de Bruin, M Sykes, L Crosbie, B Vellacott, C Hutchison, D Hoyland.

Leicester Tigers: F Steward; A Watson, G Porter, J Gopperth, H Potter; H Pollard, J van Poortvliet; J Cronin, J Montoya (captain), D  Cole, G Martin, C  Henderson, H Liebenberg, T Reffell, O Cracknell. Substitutes: C Clare, T  West, J Heyes, E  Snyman, J  Wiese,S Wolstenholme, C Atkinson, D Kelly.


Unavailable to Edinburgh: Matt Currie, Wes Goosen, Nick Haining, Henry Immelman, Ben Muncaster, Harry Paterson, Pierce Phillips, Charlie Savala, Angus Williams.

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About David Barnes 4026 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The 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.


  1. “Scotland stars return” and just when you think it can’t get any worse, the Edinburgh performance falls of a cliff-edge. Leicester are a tough team, but they brought little to the party last night with so many mistakes from the Gunners handing them the win. Really poor from too many, alleged international class players. Just demonstrates the league table doesn’t lie.

  2. Just watched this live. Sad to see how far Edinburgh has fallen, this is a team of internationals whereas Leicester were bringing on players who are far from household names. Please put Kinghorn out of his misery at 10, Leicester fans laughing at his ineptitude and I don’t blame them. Clueless, passes to feet, absolutely no control, kicks when he should run and runs when he should kick then he runs into his own player. The man is a back 3 player and it’s doing his confidence no good to trot out at 10. Who honestly thought Edinburgh would win this with him trying to pull the strings but not sure there is an alternative at the club right now so perhaps I should just be grateful he’s giving it a go and should be ranting that the SRU have let a situation develop when the side representing our capital city had no quality fly half on the books.Hugely disappointing night.

    • Kinghorn was average last night and actually hit a few really good touch finders. You need to look much wider than Kinghorn to find the root of Edinburghs problems. It was an ugly night and no place for flash rugby but we just couldn’t handle their box kicks. Our international wings both had shockers and I’m not sure they managed to catch one box kick between them the whole match. Duane twice dropped the ball in possession – 2nd led to try. Beyond that mistakes all over the park from a variety of players. We got stuck in and no lack of commitment but way too many mistakes and its been the same all season

  3. Once again a very strong team on paper with I think every starter an international. I know this has been said before but surely this might be the week when we up our game and play to our potential. Slightly surprised at Pyrgos at scrum half which will never result in a high tempo flowing game. There is however no excuse in any part of the team for not matching Leicester and so I think they might just click tonight.

  4. On paper that team looks just about the strongest Edinburgh have fielded..ever!
    Unfortunately the game is,of course,not played on paper and there does seem to be something wrong in the Edinburgh set up over the past few months.
    Equally fingers crossed that Edinburgh continue a remarkable habit of performing very well in Europe even when their league form is disappointing.

  5. Will be interesting to see Henderson up against GG and Skinner.

    Strong team and should be competitive…….. bimut 1/2 backs and no alternative at 10

  6. Feel like this game has come at the wrong time for Edinburgh. It is a tough game regardless, but add into the mix the coaching upheaval it’s a big hill to climb. The players are good enough to do so, but sometimes I think people underestimate the coaches impact and I just don’t think it’s surmountable at the moment.

    Its unfortunate, as in the last 6 months some of the boys have played the best rugby they’ve ever played.

    I hope I will be proven wrong though! Like really hope!

  7. Astonishing that it’s same half backs as Connacht game. Somebody mentioned that Bennett hasn’t been fully on it this season but any centre will struggle when half backs can’t give them decent service. Really needs to be a response from that shocking display in Galway. As an aside with Henderson starting every week for Leicester surely he has a claim to be in national squad ahead of J Gray?? He carries well as opposed to lumbering for three yards and falling over.

    • Dogma,it’s the same half backs as last season when Bennett was on fire. Really, I doubt you’d win many prizes debating against 5 year olds.

  8. An extremely powerful Edinburgh side, in fact almost as strong as it could possibly be. The back three is at least the equal of any in the competition and with Kinghorn back at 10 – surely not where his future lies – this three-quarter hand is full of aces. Time for Bennett to step up too, for he has rarely shown the greatness in him this season. The scrum likewise contains quality throughout. The guys should be able to beat absolutely anyone on their day its day and yet their form has been nothing short of utterly wretched. Here’s hoping they can step up and demonstrate the guts that Glasgow showed in spades last weekend at Thomond. I will also be watching young Cameron Henderson in the Leicester second row, a 23-year-old lad with a bright future in his national colours and re-signed by the club this week.

  9. Edinburgh going fully loaded with a team that should be able to stand toe to toe with anybody. If we get our basics right and keep unforced errors to a reasonable level, we could spring a wee surprise here.
    I believe.


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