URC: Edinburgh v Zebre: two home changes for crucial clash in play-off race

Matt Currie switches to the wing after Emiliano Boffelli suffers reprisal of back injury

Matt Currie will switch from centre to wing for tomorrow [Friday] night's URC clash against Zebre at Hive Stadium. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Matt Currie will switch from centre to wing for tomorrow [Friday] night's URC clash against Zebre at Hive Stadium. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

SEAN EVERITT has made one enforced and one selection change for Edinburgh’s home URC clash against Zebre, a match they really need to take a bonus-point win from in order to push their URC play-off prospects.

They are currently ninth in the table with three regular season game left in the season, and need to finish in the top eight to be in the post-season knock-out phase. They are only one point behind Connacht, Ulster and Benetton, and two points behind the Stormers so could climb to fifth if results this weekend go their way.

However, they also have Ospreys (three points behind) and Lions (four points back) breathing down their necks, with tough games against Munster at home and fellow play-off chasers Benetton away coming up in the final two rounds of their URC campaign.


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Everitt has been forced to leave out back-three man Emiliano Boffelli, who appears to have suffered a reprisal of the back issue which sidelined him from the start of March until his comeback in Edinburgh last outing against Cardiff a fortnight ago. That means centre Matt Currie shifts out to the wing and Mark Bennett comes in to partner James Lang in midfield, with another centre in Chris Dean on the bench.

Meanwhile, Viliame Mata returns to the starting XV at No 8, swapping places with the benched Luke Crosbie.

“This is a massive match for our play-off aspirations, and we’ll need to be fully focused and disciplined to secure a positive result at Hive Stadium,” said head coach Everitt.

“Zebre Parma are a much-improved side and will travel to Edinburgh with nothing to lose. They bring physicality. They don’t give you much in how they attack. They use their maul effectively to play from and generally they’re quite conservative, while they defend really well and they’re aggressive off the line.

“So, they force you into making mistakes. What we need to do is focus on us, and make sure that we’re accurate in all departments whether it be in defence or attack. We know what they’re going to bring – the Italians are always emotional, and regardless of where they play, what they play and who they play against, they’re always difficult opposition.

“They’ve had some really tight results, especially at home, and certainly their results away have been improving. So, for us, it’s about making sure that we’re accurate in everything that we do on the field.”

 

 

“It was frustrating not getting the bonus point [against Cardiff last time out], but you’ve got to look at the positives out of it again,” he continued. “And I suppose it sounds like I’m regurgitating myself [but] we got ourselves into positions on the field where we could have got the bonus point.

“I thought they did well in stopping our maul, and to be disrupted at those breakdowns is quite frustrating for us because that would have been the cherry on the pie and a good away win, but like I said the positives are that we travelled away to Cardiff, against a team that has probably been unfortunate, and it was always going to be emotional for the guys playing the last game at Cardiff Arms Park.

“So to get a win there, we mustn’t underestimate how valuable that was, because if we lose that one it puts us under tremendous pressure going into the next three rounds. And then we’d be hoping for everyone else to slip up along the way, and how the fixtures have gone in the last two rounds, it’s unlikely that that’s going to happen.

“Our destiny is still in our own hands. And we need to move on and make sure that we put in a good performance tomorrow.

“A little bit of background with selection: we’ve got three squads,” he added. “We divide our squad into three: we’ve got a rotational squad; and then we’ve got the guys that are coming through the system, the young guys – they would be in the non-rotational group; and then we’ve got teams that we pick for big games.

“And these three games that we’ve got left now are big games, so we’ll try and pick the best combination possible for the opposition that we’re playing against, and certainly the best team available as well.”

 

Edinburgh (v Zebre at Hive Stadium in the URC on Friday @ 7.35pm): W Goosen; M Currie, M Bennett, J Lang, D van der Merwe; B Healy, A Price; P Schoeman, E Ashman, W Nel, S Skinner, G Gilchrist  ©, J Ritchie, H Watsons, V Mata. Replacements: D Cherry, B Venter, J Sebastian, M Sykes, L Crosbie, B Vellacott, 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 3995 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.

5 Comments

  1. Must agree re the injuries … 11 of such a small squad injured is just not good enough, what are the physios doing wrong in the match prep..

    However will be there hoping for 5 points !!

    • 11 injuries at any one time is far from unusual in a pro rugby squad of 46 or so. Typically expect 20-25% carrying some sort of injury going into every game. Pro athletes in a contact sport. Its not always someone to blame!
      What is unusual is so many in the back 3 at the same time, that is just bad luck

  2. I wonder if Everitt has been watching the correct opponents or the other Italian team. Zebre do not defend well. Fall off tackles or just miss them too often and thus have conceded more tries than anyone in the URC, more than 5 a game on average. Benneton defend really well, only Glasgow and Munster have conceded fewer tries
    In attack, Zebre are not conservative at all. They try to play expansive rugby Benneton have played conservative rugby, scored one less try than Edinburgh

  3. So Bofelli injured again after one outing and Harry Paterson got half an hour in the A team last weekend-I think his first game since being capped v France in February-and he’s injured again! What a pity as Currie and or Dean really are just stopgaps on the wing and really not suitable for a match against Munster next week.Fingers crossed that at least one of Bofelli,Paterson and Jacob Henry might have recovered by then?

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  4. 5 points a must!
    Really hoped after two weeks off, at least 2 of the 5 (!) injured back 3ers would return, but never mind. Maybe next week?
    Back row looks strong again with Watson and Ritchie back on form, and Crosbie making a big impact off the bench!

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