Edinburgh star McKenzie’s shock Glasgow loan deal

Fraser McKenzie
Fraser McKenzie
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Edinburgh Rugby second row Fraser McKenzie is poised to play against Ospreys for the second week running in the Guinness PRO12 after being part of a shock loan deal to Glasgow.

McKenzie came off the bench when Edinburgh defeated the Swansea-based side 24-16 last weekend but a call-up to the Scotland squad for Tim Swinson alongside Six Nations regular Jonny Gray has left Warriors short in the middle row of the scrum for a Saturday fixture with Ospreys.

Announcing the move, Edinburgh said McKenzie would switch “for this weekend’s match only” while Alex Toolis also heads along the M8 “on a short-term loan”.

The unusual situation overshadowed an Edinburgh team announcement which sees Tim Visser back involved for tomorrow’s home clash with Ulster at BT Murrayfield.

In a worrying sign for the winger’s immediate prospects of adding to his cap haul, Visser has been released along with Dougie Fife, who scored in the opening Six Nations round against France but missed out on the squad against Wales.

Also back is Ben Toolis, who has been leapfrogged by nine-times capped Swinson in the national pecking order.

The calls are a sure sign that Glasgow pair Tommy Seymour and Sean Maitland are returning to fitness with three rounds of the Six Nations remaining.

Another major Edinburgh talking point is the decision to bench Hugh Blake just a week after the Scots-qualified Kiwi finally debuted in easing the outcry over the way he was parachuted into the national set-up before appearing professionally in his adopted country.

Blake makes way for Hamish Watson, who is also back from the Scotland squad with his hopes of a cap debut appearing now to be on the back burner, at least temporarily.

Jade Te Rure, hailed for a try-scoring display at stand off last week, drops to the Edinburgh bench at a time when Tom Heathcote is promoted.

That promotion has to be seen in the context of Scotland struggling at stand off with Finn Russell currently banned for next week’s clash with Italy and both Duncan Weir and Ruaridh Jackson injured.

Second row Ollie Atkins, who figured in the win over Ospreys last week, joins Blake and Te Rure on the bench.

Edinburgh said they were “more than happy” to help out their fellow SRU-owned rivals and head coach Alan Solomons added: “It is good to have some of the national squad back with us. They have slotted in extremely well and the team is looking forward to locking horns with one of the top teams in the competition.”

A vacancy has been left on the bench to cover scrum half in the following line-up indicating a possible fitness worry involving Sean Kennedy.

Heriot’s back-rower Jason Hill, who scored for the Scotland Club XV in the recent win over Ireland, could be in line for a Glasgow debut on Saturday.

Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend said today: “We’d like to thank Edinburgh Rugby for loaning us Fraser (McKenzie) and Alex (Toolis) and we’re also very grateful to Heriot’s.

“It’s a great opportunity for Jason to train with us and we look forward to involving him more during the season.

Edinburgh: Cuthbert, Fife, Beard, Burleigh, Visser, Heathcote, Hart, Sutherland, Cochrane, Nel, Bresler, B Toolis, Grant, Coman (c), Watson. Subs: McInally, Shiells, Andress, Atkins, Blake, AN Other, Te Rure, Strauss.