EDINBURGH head coach Mike Blair has added Scotland internationals Damien Hoyland, Jaco van der Walt, Ben Vellacott, Dave Cherry, Glen Young and Luke Crosbie to his starting line-up ahead of the team’s final pre-season hit-out against Benetton in Treviso.
Flanker Jamie Ritchie once again skippers the capital side after managing half an hour in his comeback from injury game against London Scottish last weekend, while fellow Scotland cap Sam Skinner is set to make his debut off the bench following a summer move north from Exeter Chiefs. No 8s Viliame Mata (knee) and Nick Haining (shoulder) are also likely to make appearances as replacements following lengthy injury lay-offs.
Several frontline Scotland internationals who toured Argentina this summer, such as Pierre Schoeman, Grant Gilchhrist, Hamish Watson, Blair Kinghorn, Mark Bennett and Darcy Graham, are still missing.
“Taking on Benetton is always a great challenge, especially away from home at Stadio Monigo, so tomorrow night’s friendly will be a great opportunity to test our squad against quality opposition that we know well from league action,” said Blair.
“We’re really pleased we can integrate several of our Scotland players back into the squad and it will stand us in good stead as we look ahead to our URC opener against Dragons RFC at DAM Health Stadium in little over a week’s time.
“A lot of our younger academy players will be champing at the bit to make an impact from the bench, while it’s brilliant that we can also welcome back Bill [Mata] who has worked incredibly hard to get back fit for the start of the new season – he’s raring to go.”
Edinburgh (v Benetton at Stadio Monigo, Friday 7.30pm): H ImmelmaN; J Blain, M Currie, C Dean (VC), D Hoyland; J van der Walt, B Vellacott; N Auterac, D Cherry, A Williams, M Sykes, G Young, J Ritchie©, L Crosbie, B Muncaster.
Replacements: Boan Venter, Jamie Jack, Adam McBurney, Patrick Harrison, Lee-Roy Atalifo, Dan Gamble, Pierce Phillips, Sam Skinner, Jamie Hodgson, Nick Haining, Connor Boyle, Bill Mata, Henry Pyrgos, Charlie Shiel, Charlie Savala, Jake Henry, Cammy Hutchison, Cammy Scott, Harry Paterson.
Unavailable due to injury: Luan de Bruin, WP Nel, Mesu Kunavula, Wes Goosen