Edinburgh and Glasgow both get their pre-seasons into the next gear this weekend with friendlies.
You can’t read too much into it, but here are the teams picked by Richard Cockerill and Dave Rennie for their first games at their new clubs.
For Edinburgh, there are first starts for Jason Harries and Darryl Marfo and several players called up to Scotland duty also feature including Phil Burleigh, Anton Bresler, Grant Gilchrist and Darcy Graham. With Ross Ford still rested and George Turner off to Glasgow, it’s an early chance for Stuart McInally to prove he is a hooker after all.
As usual the bench is loaded more than normal, with a high chance of mass changes at half time. Several Scotland Sevens players who might like to impress the new boss lurk therein too: Dougie Fife, Jamie Farndale and pace man James Johnstone.
Overall though it is more of the same as a starting XV; if Edinburgh can find the right attitude they may already have the players to do well.
Josh Strauss is expected to line up for Sale Sharks in opposition. Having been left out of the Scotland group, he may have a point to prove.
Edinburgh team to play Sale Sharks in a pre-season friendly on Friday 18 August at Meggetland (kick-off 7.35pm):
15 Glenn Bryce, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Chris Dean, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Jason Harries, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne; 1 Darryl Marfo, 2 Stuart McInally, 3 Simon Berghan, 4 Anton Bresler, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 7 John Hardie, 8 Cornell Du Preez
Substitutes: Jason Baggott**, Tom Brown, Lewis Carmichael, Neil Cochrane, Luke Crosbie**, Ross Dunbar**, Jamie Farndale*, Cammy Fenton**, Dougie Fife*, Nathan Fowles, Hugh Fraser, Callum Hunter-Hill, James Johnstone*, Blair Kinghorn, Murray McCallum, Fraser McKenzie, Ally Miller, Junior Rasolea
Dave Rennie has had about 3 days to pick his team, but he has a cadre of experienced coaches who no doubt had an input this time out. As is usual for a team providing so many international players (who were late into pre-season and will still be rested in terms of game time well into the campaign), this Glasgow side bears little relationship to a full-strength Glasgow side but it is pretty interesting all the same.
There are a few eyebrow raisers, including Rory Hughes at full back and Adam Ashe as captain but nothing particularly troubling and indeed moves that many will welcome to broaden depth, leadership skills and Adam Ashe’s chances of fulfilling his talent. Speaking of Scottish Number 8s, Mitch Eadie will line up for Northampton against the Warriors.
Former MacPhail scholar Paddy Kelly makes up the midfield with Sam Johnson while the half-backs are picked with an eye on the future too in the shape of Adam Hastings and George Horne. Robbie Nairn, like Hastings and the new head coach, will make his Warriors debut as may a number of lads from the bench. Leo Sarto makes a welcome return on the wing and brings some much-needed international experience to the team.
Up front, the pack is more familiar but still short on crafty old stagers, as you might expect when the starting XV has an average age of 22. Talent abounds in this Glasgow team though and they’ll welcome the chance to impress the new coaches.
Glasgow Warriors team to play Northampton Saints at Bridgehaugh Park in Stirling, Saturday 19 August, (kick-off 2pm):
15. Rory Hughes (32), 14. Leonardo Sarto (8), 13. Paddy Kelly (1), 12. Sam Johnson (24), 11. Robbie Nairn (0), 10. Adam Hastings (0), 9. George Horne (3); 1. Jamie Bhatti (6), 2. James Malcolm (18), 3. D’arcy Rae (24), 4. Greg Peterson (21), 5. Scott Cummings (17), 6. Matt Fagerson (9), 7. Matt Smith (3), 8. Adam Ashe (39) CAPTAIN
Replacements: 16. Alex Allan (51), 17. Grant Stewart (0), 18. Adam Nicol (1), 19. Brian Alainu’uese (16), 20. Kiran McDonald (0), 21. George Stokes (0), 22. Hamilton Burr (0), 23. Chris Fusaro (126), 24. Lewis Wynne (15), 25. Charlie Shiel (0), 26. Stafford McDowell (0), 27. Lee Jones (54), 28. Robert Beattie (0)
Extended highlights will be available on the Warriors Youtube channel over the weekend.