Emiliano Boffelli back in Edinburgh XV to take on Emirates Lions

Argentine international Emiliano Boffelli returns to Edinburgh’s starting line-up for Friday’s night’s United Rugby Championship match against Emirates Lions at DAM Health Stadium.

The Los Pumas star makes his first Edinburgh appearance of the season and is selected on the wing as one of eight changes named by head coach Mike Blair after back-to-back defeats in South Africa by the Bulls and the Stormers.

Outside centre Matt Currie makes his first start of the season in place of the injured Mark Bennett, while Henry Pyrgos gets the nod at scrum-half as Ben Vellacott misses out having picking up a knock in training.

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A new front-row combination of Boan Venter and Luan de Bruin start as Glen Young comes into the second-row.

Argentine international Emiliano Boffelli returns to Edinburgh Rugby’s starting line-up

Blindside flanker Luke Crosbie and number 8 Viliame Mata are both fit again and return to the back-row in place of injured duo Jamie Ritchie and Nick Haining.

Boffelli enjoyed an impressive Rugby Championship campaign, notching up 20 points in August’s stunning win against the All Blacks, while playing a key role in Argentina’s summer series victory against Scotland.

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He is selected along with Darcy Graham on opposite wings, with both keenly aware that new signing Duhan van der Merwe will soon provide added competition for places in that position.

Head coach Mike Blair said: “I saw most of his games in the Rugby Championship and he’s playing with a lot of confidence at the moment. His goalkicking has been excellent over the piece and his high ball work has been good too.

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“He’s been able to get his hands on the ball a bit more which is great. He’ll come back to us with lots of confidence.

He added: “We’ve made a number of changes to the starting line-up and we’re excited to see guys get their opportunity for what will be a really tough match-up. Emirates Lions come into the game having won two straight in Wales, so we’ll have to be at our very best.”

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Lions backline and attack coach Ricardo Loubscher said: “It’s been a great start for us, and we are obviously pleased with the momentum. There is a buzz of excitement inside the camp because of overall alignment and in terms of how we want to play the game. Two wins away from home again, is quite pleasing and we want to continue the trend.”

Edinburgh will again be celebrating ‘club appreciation night’ which will see the squad pull on the socks of their boyhood/local clubs to recognise the importance of the wider grassroots game, with the players’ chosen clubs listed on the team line-up below.

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Edinburgh Rugby team

To face Emirates Lions at DAM Health Stadium in the United Rugby Championship on Friday 7 October (kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports15. Henry Immelman (Portobello) (19 appearances)14. Darcy Graham (Hawick) (53)13. Matt Currie (Dumfries / Merchiston Castle) (13)12. James Lang (RGC Rygbi Gogledd Cymru) (22)11. Emiliano Boffelli (Inverleith) (18)10. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Accies) (121)9. Henry Pyrgos (Leith) (73)1. Boan Venter (Leith) (28)2. Stuart McInally (Watsonians) (168)3. Luan de Bruin (Corstorphine Cougars) (10)4. Glen Young (Jed-Forest) (14)5. Grant Gilchrist (Alloa) (178) CAPTAIN6. Luke Crosbie (Livingston / Currie Chieftains) (71)7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Accies) (133)8. Viliame Mata (Trinity) (97)Replacements16. Dave Cherry (Mull RFC / Merchiston Castle) (60)17. Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh Accies) (86)18. WP Nel (Watsonians) (174)19. Marshall Sykes (Ayr RFC) (17)20. Ben Muncaster (North Berwick RFC) (17)21. Charlie Shiel (Currie Chieftains / Royal High) (45)22. Charlie Savala (Ayr RFC) (14)23. Chris Dean (North Berwick RFC / Edinburgh Accies) (123)Unavailable: Mark Bennett, Connor Boyle, Wes Goosen, Nick Haining, Jamie Ritchie, Ben Vellacott

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Emirates Lions team

Andries Coetzee, Stean Pienaar, Henco van Wyk, Marius Louw, Quan Horn, Gianni Lombard, Sanele Nohamba, Sti Sithole, PJ Botha, Ruan Dreyer, Pieter Jansen van Vuren, Reinhard Nothnagel (CAPT), Sibusiso Sangweni, Ruan Venter, Francke Horn. Replacements: Jaco Visagie, JP Smith, Ruan Smith, Emmanuel Tshituka, Ruhan Straeuli, Morne van den Berg, Jordan Hendrikse, Zander du Plessis