SCOTLAND captain Jamie Ritchie will make his first Edinburgh appearance of the season tomorrow night in the capital side’s URC round five clash against the table-topping Bulls at the Hive Stadium. The flanker has been out of action with a shoulder injury he suffered at the World Cup but is now fit to join Viliame Mata and Connor Boyle in the capital back-row.
Meanwhile, Ali Price, who made a shock move east from Glasgow Warriors on a loan deal to the end of the season last week, is set to make his Edinburgh debut off the bench.
Elsewhere,WP Nel returns to action at tight-head prop after being rested last week, while co-captain Ben Vellacott gets the nod at scrum-half in an otherwise unchanged backline, after coming off the bench to score a crucial try and be named man-0f-the-match following 34 minutes of rugby in last week’s home victory over Connacht.
“We’re delighted to welcome Jamie back to the team,” said Edinburgh senior coach Sean Everitt. “He is a top player and Scotland captain for a reason. He brings further physicality, experience and leadership to the pack as we face a strong Vodacom Bulls side.
“We were really happy with a lot of areas in last weekend’s Connacht victory. In particular, the resilience we displayed to claim back possession, retain the ball and set-up a game-winning drop goal was really pleasing. We’ll need to maintain those levels of focus against the Bulls if we are to come out on top after 80 minutes.”
“The supporters will once again have a major role to play tomorrow night. The atmosphere created at Hive Stadium last weekend was nothing short of electric, the noise and chants boosted the team until the very last play – we hope they’ll be back for the first ‘Friday night lights’ match of the season.”
Edinburgh Rugby (versus Bulls at Hive Stadium on Friday at 7.35pm): B Kinghorn; W Goosen, M Bennett, J Lang, D van der Merwe; B Healy, B Vellacott; P Schoeman, E Ashman, W Nel, G Young, G Gilchrist©, J Ritchie, C Boyle, V Mata. Substitutes: D Cherry, B Venter, J Sebastian, M Sykes, T Dodd, A Price, C Scott, C Dean.
Unavailable: Emiliano Boffelli (toe), Luan de Bruin (back), Luke Crosbie (concussion), Matt Currie (thigh) Darcy Graham (hip), Jake Henry (knee), Mikey Jones (ankle), Cam Neild (knee), Sam Skinner (knee), Scott Steele (hip), Nathan Sweeney (hamstring), Hamish Watson (cheekbone).