Tom Heathcote believes Edinburgh will have a trump card in versatile centre pairing Matt Scott and Andries Strauss as they attempt to extend an unbeaten start to the European Challenge Cup against London Welsh at BT Murrayfield tomorrow.
Eyebrows were raised when coach Alan Solomons again listed Matt Scott at outside centre. However, the pair will be alternating roles. It is stand-off Heathcote’s job to bring both into play. He said: “Having Andries and Matt alongside is definitely an important weapon as they can play either way round. I can bring Matty in if there are to be some big carries knowing he can get over gain-line. At other times Matt can use his pace on the outside break because he is a class player who can distribute as well.”
Heathcote made 13 Euro appearances with Bath and since moving to Edinburgh his 85 points in both Cup and League have been vital. Such experience and goal kicking expertise will be useful in settling Edinburgh as David Denton (shoulder) and Ross Ford (back) miss out.
It is on the bench, though, that coach Solomons has really had his hand forced by listing Stuart McInally, for the last 18 months the subject of an experiment to convert him to hooker, as cover for his old Scotland replacement role in the back row.
While praising McInally’s all round abilities Solomons maintains there are no other options; when long term injury Cornell Du Preez had to be de-registered it was to a prop, Grant Shiells, that Edinburgh turned rather than dip into the Premiership.
Edinburgh: McLennan, Fife, Scott, Strauss, Visser, Heathcote, Hart, Sutherland, Hilterbrand, Nel, Atkins, B Toolis, Leonardi, Coman (capt), Grant. Subs: Cochrane, Shiells, Andress, Bresler, McInally, Hidalgo-Clyne, Tonks.