Head coach Richard Cockerill has named his side for tomorrow’s Guinness PRO14 clash against Benetton Rugby. It’s a tricky away trip against a team that are playing well both in the PRO14 and in Europe and are in better form than they were when they beat Edinburgh at Myreside. With that in mind, Cockerill has put together a strong team.
There are 8 changes from the team that knocked a T-34 tankload of tries past Krasny Yar in the European Challenge Cup last weekend, but most of them seem like top choices, injuries notwithstanding. The only area perhaps not fully settled is in the midfield, where Edinburgh fans dreaming of a Freuan / Bennett access may have to wait until at least December. In the meantime, Scotland squad call-up Phil Burleigh and James Johnstone are the pairing, with Junior Rasolea rested after his exploits in Europe.
Sam Hidalgo Clyne and Jason Tovey are the half-back pairing that have looked the best for Edinburgh this season which explains Duncan Weir’s absence from the Scotland squad, but not Nathan Fowles’ inclusion. If this were a movie, you’d think Sam Hidalgo-Clyne is now due for an ironic run of form after being left out of Gregor Townsend’s plans.
In the front row, Darryl Marfo, Stuart McInally and WP Nel could, in fact, become an all international front row by late November with Allan Dell out injured again. New club captain Fraser McKenzie leads the side which makes it a little harder to get either of Gilchrist or Carmichael game time alongside Toolis – both feature on the bench.
In a reshuffled back row there is a chance for Hamish Watson to find form ahead of the autumn series, while new face Luke Crosbie gets a second start for Edinburgh having done well in the European rounds. It’s been a good week for the lesser-known Lukes of Scottish rugby.
Treviso are no slouches at home but aside from Jamie Ritchie and Ross Ford who miss out, this is probably the best team Edinburgh could pick to give them a chance of an away win.
Benetton Rugby: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Angelo Esposito, 13 Ignacio Brex, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Luca Sperandio, 10 Ian McKinley, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Dean Budd (C), 7 Abraham Steyn, 6 Francesco Minto, 5 Dean Budd (C), 4 Marco Fuser, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Federico Zani.
Replacements: 16 Tomas Baravalle, 17 Cherif Traore, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Federico Ruzza, 20 Alessandro Zanni, 21 Sebastian Negri, 22 Giorgio Bronzini, 23 Tommaso Benvenuti
Edinburgh: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Dougie Fife, 13 James Johnstone, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Jason Harries, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne; 1 Darryl Marfo, 2 Stuart McInally, 3 WP Nel, 4 Fraser McKenzie (CAPT), 5 Ben Toolis, 6 Luke Crosbie, 7 Hamish Watson, 8 Cornell du Preez.
Replacements: 16 Neil Cochrane, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Murray McCallum, 19 Grant Gilchrist, 20 Lewis Carmichael, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Glenn Bryce, 23 Chris Dean.
Referee: Ben Whitehouse (WRU)
Stadio Comunale di Monigo (Saturday 28 October, kick-off 3pm, coverage possibly on Italian Eurosport).