Rugby: Edinburgh students upbeat for domestic rugby kick-off

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Musselburgh and Edinburgh University have switched their opening National League rugby clash to Stoneyhill this weekend due to a double booking at Peffermill.

The students will go into action without a warm-up game but joint-coach David Adamson says the team will benefit from almost all the players who were on a summer tour of Brazil being available again.

“Only three of last year’s team have moved on and we have been able to organise a fitness training and bonding session at Glencorse Barracks as part of our preparations,” says Adamson who revealed the team will be captained from back row by James Morrison, brother of Scotland World Cup centre Graeme.

The build-up has seen Musselburgh coach Brian Hughes highlighting the potential of scrum-half Danny Owenson, fresh from colts rugby.

Says Hughes: “Earlier in my coaching career I worked at my hometown club, Jed-Forest, with Greig Laidlaw who is now an internationalist. I rate Greig very highly but Danny is as good as Greig was at 18 especially with his ability to beat an opponent one-on-one.”

Murrayfield Wanderers will give a debut to former Watsonians captain and prop Dan O’Connell as well as former Stewart’s Melville centre Alex Cox for their opening trip to Livingston with Maltese international scrum-half James Bortolo available earlier than expected after knee damage.

RHC Cougars face Linlithgow at Barnton with a much-changed side featuring a former Glenrothes trio of prop Steve MacEwen, centre Chris Mann and back row Darryl Warrender. MacEwen previously won the Premiership with Currie.

Ex-Lismore No. 8 Anthony Reen has also joined while Andrew Bentley has returned from London to offset Neil Statham’s move to Dubai. Coaching Cougars are Steve Leckie, Ruaridh Pye, Al Verity and Gordon Lyon.