BLAIR Kinghorn is back at stand-off in the Edinburgh team to play Munster at Thomond Park tomorrow night after being released by the Scotland squad. Kinghorn was an unused substitute in the opening Six Nations win over England and saw limited game time off the bench in last week’s loss in Wales, so it has clearly been decided he could do with longer involvement.
Centre Mark Bennett, scrum-half Ben Vellacott and back-row forward Nick Haining have also been cleared to play in the URC game, having had no involvement in the first two Championship matches. Bennett will captain the side as they attempt to halt a slide that has seen them fall from top of the table to fourth place. after losing 26-7 to Leinster last week.
Eight players – Magnus Bradbury, Darcy Graham, Grant Gilchrist, Jamie Hodgson, Stuart McInally, Willem Nel, Pierre Schoeman and Hamish Watson – have been retained by Scotland.
Eleven others are listed as unavailable, primarily through injury: Luan de Bruin, Luke Crosbie, Damien Hoyland, Cammy Hutchison, James Johnstone, Bill Mata, Kwagga van Niekerk, Freddie Owsley, Jamie Ritchie, Ben Toolis and Jaco van der Walt.
“It’s great we’re able to welcome back some of our Scotland guys back into the squad,” head coach Mike Blair said. “They bring added strength to a group that did some good things against Leinster last time out.
“While it’s great to have experienced internationalists back involved, this period is also brilliant for our younger players. They can show what they can do and see what it takes to win at this level. This is excellent for their development, while at the same time we are able to put out a team that is capable of winning these games.
“We are expecting a real battle out there. Part of the disappointment of the Leinster game was around our physicality. There is no better place to go than Thomond Park to see if we have learned the lessons from the week before. We can’t wait for the challenge.”
Edinburgh (v Munster at Thomond Park, Friday 7.35pm): H Immelman; R Moyano, M Bennett (captain), J Lang, E Boffelli; B Kinghorn, B Vellacott; B Venter, A McBurney, L Atalifo, M Sykes, G Young, N Haining, C Boyle, B Muncaster. Substitutes: D Cherry, S Grahamslaw, J Armstrong, P Phillips, M Kunavula, H Pyrgos, C Savala, C Dean.
Referee: B Whitehouse (Wales).
Not sure why Hodgson has not been released – could do with him against Munster and he’s not been used in either of the internationals’ He cant have played for some time and yet Kinghorn gets to play who was actually in the 23 for both internationals. Munster is always a tough place to go so any sort of result would be great. Worry about the back row with effectively 2 full sets missing but good chance for Boyle and Muncaster to get some exposure.
Close to full strength back line, if we can get some ball for them we should be competitive. Munster, only four changes from the team Glasgow beat so if lessons were learnt against Leinster last week we should be looking for a result. Any win at Munster is always hard fought, but if the back row can at least get parity we can get the job done.
Hope there is enough money in meter so our returners don’t have to go off too early on orders from GT.