URC: Edinburgh v Munster: hosts make one change as play-off battle intensifies

Friday night clash is likely to be last home outing for WP Nel and Viliame Mata in capital colours

Ben Vellacott [centre] replaces Ali Price as starting scrum-half for Edinburgh against Munster on Friday night. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Ben Vellacott [centre] replaces Ali Price as starting scrum-half for Edinburgh against Munster on Friday night. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

CLUB co-captain Ben Vellacott has replaced Ali Price at scrum-half in Edinburgh head coach Sean Everitt’s only change to his starting XV between last weekend’s victory over Zebre and tomorrow [Friday] night’s home clash against Munster.

The capital side currently sit seventh in the URC table with two rounds of the regular season left to play, but they are only four points ahead of Connacht and Lions who are in ninth and tenth placed, meaning that they need to win this weekend to ensure that they retain control of their own destiny in the quest to finish in the top eight so as to qualify for the play-offs.

Munster, meanwhile, also have plenty to play for. They are currently third but only one point behind second-placed Leinster and two points behind top of the table Glasgow Warriors, so know that an eighth league win on the bounce will keep them in the hunt to secure a home route through the play-off quarter and semi-finals.


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As well as vital league points, there will also be an emotional element to tonight’s match with it being almost certainly the last appearances in Edinburgh colours at the Hive for stalwart forwards WP Nel, who is retiring, and Viliame Mata, who is moving to Bristol in the summer.

“We’ve rotated our nines throughout the season,” said Everitt of his one personnel change. “We do select our team in advance, not necessarily on the form that a player delivers in one game on a Saturday. But for us it’s about giving Ben a start at home, as well as part of our strategy,” said Everitt

“We all know it’s a massive game anyway as far as the log position is concerned, but certainly for the two players that have given so much to the club, it will be great if we can give them a good send-off with a win over Munster at home,” he continued.

“I would say we haven’t changed much from what we’ve done over the last few weeks. We’ve been in a pressure pot, as we all know with how the logs are. For us, it’s about working on our performance and focusing on what we need to do to be able to get over the line in big games.

“To beat a quality team like Munster, who are on a seven-game unbeaten streak at the moment in the URC, we’ve got to be on song for 80. That will be our focus this weekend.

“Munster are a formidable opponent and we’re under no illusions about the challenge we face going up against the reigning BKT URC Champions. However, we have belief and our squad will be fired up playing at home in front of a packed out capital crowd.”

 

Edinburgh (v Munster at Hive Stadium in the URC on Friday @ 7.35pm): W Goosen; M Currie, M Bennett, J Lang, D van der Merwe; B Healy, B Vellacott co-©; P Schoeman, E Ashman, W Nel, S Skinner, G Gilchrist co-©, J Ritchie, H Watsons, V Mata. Replacements: D Cherry, B Venter, J Sebastian, M Sykes, L Crosbie, A Price, C Scott, C Dean.

Unavailable: Emiliano Boffelli (back), Connor Boyle (back), Tom Dodd (bicep), Darcy Graham (groin), Jake Henry (hamstring), Robin Hislop (knee), Harry Paterson (quad), D’Arcy Rae (ankle), Scott Steele (hip), Nathan Sweeney (groin), Glen Young (ankle).


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About David Barnes 4012 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.

4 Comments

  1. Glad to see Vellacott starting and with a full strength pack they need to get the upper hand in the forwards. Munster are always strong but their pack is not quite their best with no Mahoney and interestingly Snyman and Ahern both on the bench so a strong bench from Munster. Need to bring our best but I think we can do it – any sort of win will do.

  2. Looking at the Munster team that doesn’t appear to be at 100% full strength Embra have a great chance here of getting some points on the board before a tricky trip to Italy. However no matter what Munster 15 starts they are always mentally tough and believe that they can get the job done. Edinburgh need to step up to the plate, mentally and physically match Munster and do whatever it takes (sorry) to collect the points.

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    • Really need to treat this as our cup final.Last time out at home to Munster we totally capitulated in the second half after leading at around the 30 minute mark (and probably with about 10 of the same team).
      No excuses tomorrow night!

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