Edinburgh Rugby make six changes for Benetton friendly as Darcy Graham makes first appearance since April

Mike Blair has made six changes to his starting XV for Saturday’s pre-season friendly against Benetton.

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 12:49 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th September 2021, 12:57 pm
Darcy Graham, pictured during an Edinburgh Rugby training session, returns to the starting XV.

The Italians travel to the capital (kick-off 3pm) for the final warm-up match ahead of the United Rugby Championship starting a week on Friday.

Scotland internationalists Darcy Graham, Blair Kinghorn, Stuart McInally, Grant Gilchrist and Jamie Ritchie all return to the starting XV after missing out on last weekend’s Newcastle Falcons match, while summer recruits James Lang and Freddie Owsley are both selected among the replacements and are in line to make their first appearances for the club.

Graham returns to the wing to make his first Edinburgh appearance since April, while there is a new half-back pairing as Kinghorn named at stand-off alongside scrum-half Ben Vellacott.

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Blair makes three changes to the tight-five as hooker McInally, loosehead Pierre Schoeman and lock Gilchrist are all named starters, while Ritchie comes in at blindside flanker.

“We’re delighted to welcome back a number of the club’s experienced internationalists for this game,” said Blair. They’ll all have significant roles to play as the United Rugby Championship gets started in just over a week’s time, and it’s important that they get this game time under their belts as we approach the season kick-off.

“While we were clearly disappointed with the result against Falcons, there were plenty of positives to take out of the overall performance. I’m keen that we continue to build on those fundamentals this weekend.

“Benetton are a quality side that were worthy and deserved winners of the Rainbow Cup, while they’re a team that we’ll face twice in our URC Conference. We look forward to the challenge that Saturday’s match-up presents and the squad are excited to once again play in front of our home support in our brand-new stadium.”

Edinburgh team to play Benetton (Saturday, 3pm, Edinburgh Rugby Stadium): Henry Immelman; Darcy Graham, Mark Bennett, Cammy Hutchison, Damien Hoyland; Blair Kinghorn, Ben Vellacott; Pierre Schoeman, Stuart McInally, Luan de Bruin, Marshall Sykes, Grant Gilchrist (captain), Jamie Ritchie, Luke Crosbie, Magnus Bradbury. Replacements: Boan Venter, Harry Lloyd, Lee-Roy Atalifo, Dan Gamble, Dave Cherry, Patrick Harrison, Pierce Phillips, Nick Haining, Connor Boyle, Ben Muncaster, Henry Pyrgos, Charlie Shiel, Charlie Savala, Nathan Chamberlain, James Lang, Chris Dean, Jordan Venter, James Johnstone, Freddie Owsley, Ramiro Moyano, Jack Blain.