NICK Haining is back from Scotland duty to take his place at No 8 in an Edinburgh team that shows five changes from the one that lost to Connacht last week. Mark Bennett is restored at inside centre, Henry Pyrgos takes over at scrum-half and as captain, tighthead Murray McCallum makes his first start of the season and George Taylor is a late replacement on the wing for Eroni Sau, whose wife gave birth this morning.
Taylor’s promotion to the starting line-up means there is a place on the bench for James Johnstone, while South African lock Andries Ferreira is also named among the substitutes for the first time following his signing earlier this month. Jamie Bhatti and WP Nel, the other two players released by Scotland along with Haining, are also among the replacements.
While those three are available to head coach Richard Cockerill, nine others remained part of the Scotland squad to play Wales: Simon Berghan, Stuart McInally, Jamie Ritchie, Rory Sutherland, Ben Toolis, Hamish Watson, Darcy Graham, Blair Kinghorn and Duhan van der Merwe. Six others are listed as unavailable due to injury: Luke Crosbie, Matt Gordon, Viliame Mata, Grant Gilchrist, Damien Hoyland and Fraser McKenzie.
“We were obviously disappointed with last weekend’s result,” Cockerill said of the 37-26 home defeat by Connacht – Edinburgh’s third straight loss in the PRO14, and their sixth in a row in all competitions. “But we’re moving in the right direction and the squad have continued to work hard this week.
“We’ve got quite a few young guys that are still getting used to this level of rugby, but we’re excited to travel to Wales and take on Scarlets in what is always a tough match-up. We’ve got a good record at Parc y Scarlets during my time with the club. We know that we’ll have to play the conditions right and match them from the get-go if we are to come away with a positive result.”
Edinburgh (v Scarlets at Parc y Scarlets, Sunday 6.45pm): J Blain; G Taylor, M Bennett, C Dean, J Farndale; J van der Walt, H Pyrgos (captain); P Schoeman, M Willemse, M McCallum, L Carmichael, A Davidson, M Bradbury, A Miller, N Haining. Substitutes: D Cherry, J Bhatti, W Nel, A Ferreira, C Boyle, C Shiel, N Chamberlain, J Johnstone.
Scarlets: J McNicholl; T Morgan, S Hughes (captain), P Asquith, S Evans; A O’Brien, D Blacker; P Price, T Davies, J Sebastian, J Helps, M Jones, U Cassiem, J Morgan, S Kalamafoni. Substitutes: D Booth, R Evans, W Kruger, J Price, E Kennedy, W Homer, D Jones, T Prydie.