Edinburgh welcome back six Scotland members for Kings encounter

Phil Burleigh, fresh from making his Scotland debut, will partner James Johnstone in the centre. Picture: SNS Group
Phil Burleigh, fresh from making his Scotland debut, will partner James Johnstone in the centre. Picture: SNS Group
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Edinburgh Rugby have been boosted by the return of six players from international duty as Richard Cockerill’s side prepare to face Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth.

In the backs Phil Burleigh, who made his international debut off the bench in the 53-24 Hopetoun Cup win over Australia, returns to partner James Johnstone in the centre.

Simon Berghan, seen here against Newport Gwent Dragons, returns to the pack. Picture: SNS Group

Simon Berghan, seen here against Newport Gwent Dragons, returns to the pack. Picture: SNS Group

Simon Berghan return to the pack where he will link up with Neil Cochrane and Rory Sutherland, who is making his first start of the season at loosehead.

Grant Gilchrist returns in the second-row having featured in the matches against New Zealand and Australia. He lines up alongside club captain Fraser Mckenzie.

Viliame Mata keeps his spot in the back-row and is joined by Jamie Ritchie and Cornell du Preez.

Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, who scored all of Edinburgh’s points in the defeat to Cheetahs last week, is named among the replacements alongside Ben Toolis, Cameron Fenton, Michele Rizzo, Murray McCallum, Luke Crosbie, Chris Dean and Glenn Bryce.

Head coach Richard Cockerill said he was ‘delighted’ to have his squad bolstered by the return of the international players, adding: “There’s a good vibe around what they’ve achieved over the last few weeks, so I’d like to think that will have a ripple effect on what they do now they’re back with us.

“The Kings are a dangerous team. They have a lot of pace in their back three, are very lively at fly half, and as you would imagine, have a big forward pack.

“We’ve worked hard again this week and are going into the game with a positive mindset around how we’re going to play.

“These points are going to be important when the season comes around to qualifying for Europe or trying to push for a top-three spot if we can.”

Cockerill is well aware of the challenge facing his team, and insisted Edinburgh wouldn’t be taking Kings lightly.

“They pushed Ulster and Scarlets all the way in their last few games so we’ve got to get things right on Friday night,” he added.

Edinburgh team to face Southern Kings in the Guinness PRO14 at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday 1 December (kick-off 7.15pm local time / 5.15pm GMT)

15. Blair Kinghorn

14. Dougie Fife

13. James Johnstone

12. Phil Burleigh

11. Duhan van der Merwe

10. Jaco van der Walt

9. Nathan Fowles

1. Rory Sutherland

2. Neil Cochrane

3. Simon Berghan

4. Fraser McKenzie

5. Grant Gilchrist

6. Viliame Mata

7. Jamie Ritchie

8. Cornell du Preez

Replacements: 16 Cameron Fenton, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Murray McCallum, 19 Ben Toolis, 20 Luke Crosbie, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Chris Dean, 23 Glenn Bryce.