Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Edinburgh team to face La Rochelle

Hamish Watson - pic © Al Ross
Hamish Watson - pic © Al Ross

Duncan Hodge has picked about the strongest side he can muster with current injuries, making four changes from the team that fared so poorly against the Scarlets.

Jason Tovey starts in place of Duncan Weir while fellow Scotland international Hamish Watson returns to the side.

Murray McCallum starts at loosehead prop for Allan Dell (concussion), while Ross Ford captains the side from hooker. There’s a pretty decent back row of Bradbury, Hardie and Manu all absent through injury.

Grant Gilchrist finally earns a starting spot having spent a good portion of his games so far warming the bench, begging the question what happened to Ben Toolis? He’s been one of Edinburgh’s better players so far.

While we’re on Edinburgh second rows, it was announced this week that Melrose and Edinburgh second row Lewis Carmichael will go to struggling Super Rugby side the Western Force on a short term loan aimed at player development, joining Murray Douglas (Melbourne Rebels) in the Scottish lock hothousing department.

With La Rochelle flying high in the Top14, Edinburgh may well struggle in this one, home field advantage or no. It’s a return to the cavern of BT Murrayfield but the performances on the field have undone some of the good work off it to build a crowd at Myreside.


They will, however, relish the chance to take their minds off recent dismal PRO12 performances and refocus on Europe, which hasn’t been a disaster.

Edinburgh team to face La Rochelle in the European Rugby Challenge Cup, BT Murrayfield, Friday 31 March, kick-off 8pm – live on Sky Sports

15. Blair Kinghorn, 14. Damien Hoyland, 13. Chris Dean, 12. Phil Burleigh, 11. Tom Brown, 10. Jason Tovey, 9. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne; 1. Murray McCallum, 2. Ross Ford (capt), 3. Simon Berghan, 4. Anton Bresler, 5. Grant Gilchrist, 6. Viliame Mata, 7. Hamish Watson, 8. Cornell du Preez.

Replacements: 16. Stuart McInally, 17. Kyle Whyte, 18. Kevin Bryce, 19. Fraser McKenzie, 20. Viliami Fihaki, 21. Nathan Fowles, 22. Duncan Weir, 23. Glenn Bryce

Players unavailable due to injury: Magnus Bradbury (knee), Jack Cosgrove (ankle), Allan Dell (concussion), Alasdair Dickinson (foot), John Hardie (knee), Nasi Manu (shoulder), WP Nel (neck), Rory Sutherland (groin), Ben Toolis (back)

10 Responses

  1. Embra now between a rock and a hard place.

    1. Lose badly – pelters continue.
    2. Play well and lose – why can’t they do that in the PRO12 ?
    3. And if they actually win – 2 above ++++ and the pointing finger that the players are only interested in the glamour matches.

    Obviously fingers crossed for the problems option 3 will cause ! It is, on paper ( I know, I know ), a very decent team. Surprised Weir isn’t starting though, and a shame Dell and Toolis are injured. Scrum time will be, er, interesting.

    I personally would fly in Cockerill to stand on the touchline with a wad of contracts in his hand and glare at them as they run onto the pitch .

    Perhaps La Rochelle will be put off by the ghostly quiet of the library – I gather not too many tickets sold ?
    Sky Sports 3 for those of us too far away to make it.

  2. It’s quite telling that all those listed as injured are forwards, nominally Edinburgh’s area of strength (if there even is such a thing at the moment). Even more telling that THREE of them would all probably start at loosehead before McCallum. I’m fearing the worst, sadly.

    1. Still, we have to have hope here. French club teams’ away form in Europe is often poor. Very few La Rochelle fans will be there. And Embra did turn over a 1/7 Harlequins at the Stoop in January. It’s unlikely, but not impossible.

  3. Why this moron hodge continues with the same midfield amazes me.

    Next season I’d like to see this backlind
    9: shc or a high quality import
    10: weir or hire someone good
    11: high someone good
    12: kinghorn (he’ll never be an international 15, hasn’t the gas but could be a great 12)
    13 bennet
    14 Hoyland
    15 graham

    They literally only need to sign one too wuality winger and stand off and the current squad, playing this backline, would be top 6.

  4. Also, if taufilou can’t defend, and I’m assuming that’s why he never plays, then retrain him as a winger. He’s a destructive ball carrier. It’s not rocket science hodge!!!

  5. Damning indictement of Edinburgh coaching staff and players by Mark Dodson. Perhaps if the SRU had been a bit more pro-active several years ago standards wouldn’t have slipped to the extent that they have. Looks like Cockerill will be given a free hand. Interesting times ahead as he certainly won’t put up with the rubbish being served to paying supporters week on week.

  6. The most woeful 12 mins of Rugby I’ve ever seen. Hodge should be escorted from the stadium at half time

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion