Ben Muncaster to make Edinburgh Rugby debut in Rainbow Cup opener
Edinburgh have turned to youth for their opening match of the Rainbow Cup against Zebre at BT Murrayfield on Friday night.
Teenager Ben Muncaster will make his debut at No 8 and there is also a first start for 20-year-old centre Matt Currie.
With one eye on the forthcoming double header against Glasgow Warriors, Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill has held back some of his big guns and is keen to see how the younger players fare.
“Zebre seem to have picked a pretty strong side, which is great, but where would you give them [the youngsters] a start if not in this competition and against this opposition, with all respect to Zebre?
“It is a great opportunity. We are looking more around development and performance than potentially the result, although we always want to win.”
Originally from North Berwick, Muncaster joined Edinburgh in 2020 after four years in the Leicester Tigers Academy.
“He’s 19 years old, he’s very dynamic, he’s quite a big lad – 108-9kgs – and he’s been with us the best part of 12 months, working very, very hard both on and off the field,” said Cockerill.
“He’s got good feet, very quick and an all-action back-rower who prefers to play eight, and we’ll see over time whether that’s his best position.
“He’s got a lot of talent, very enthusiastic, loves playing with the ball in hand, so very much a ball-carrying eight but probably more in a Sam Simmonds mould than a Duane Vermeulen mould – he runs at space rather than through people.
“He’s an exciting prospect, who has worked very hard at his game – he’s a good man – and we’ll see how he goes.”
Edinburgh (v Zebre, Rainbow Cup, BT Murrayfield, Friday, 8.15pm, live on Premier Sports):
15. Blair Kinghorn; 14. Damien Hoyland, 13. Matt Currie, 12. George Taylor, 11. Eroni Sau; 10. Nathan Chamberlain, 9. Charlie Shiel; 1. Boan Venter, 2. Mike Willemse, 3. Lee-Roy Atalifo, 4. Marshall Sykes, 5. Jamie Hodgson, 6. Mesu Kunavula, 7. Luke Crosbie (c), 8. Ben Muncaster.
Substitutes: 16. Patrick Harrison, 17. Pierre Schoeman, 18. WP Nel, 19. Viliame Mata, 20. Connor Boyle, 21. Roan Frostwick, 22. Jack Blain, 23. Chris Dean.