Richard Cockerill is able to call on a number of players returning from Scotland duty as reinforcements for the second leg of the tour to South Africa.
Newly capped Phil Burleigh starts in the centre alongside James Johnstone in a backline that was largely untroubled by international selection. This leaves something for them to prove, hopefully. Still no news on Mark Bennett’s return – suggested to be December – but Johnstone has been filling in nicely in the spritely and rapid 13 role Bennett will hope to make his own before long.
In the pack Simon Berghan is thrown straight back into the front row along side Neil Cochrane (sadly not capped) and Rory Sutherland, who will be understandably keen to climb to the top rung of the very crowded ladder of International looseheads now at Edinburgh. Grant Gilchrist and Cornell du Preez also featured for Scotland as recently as last weekend and slot back in right away.
Cockerill will be hoping that the good vibes generated by a hugely successful (but not perfect) autumn for Scotland reveberate around his Edinburgh squad, which is definitely on the up-turn but haven’t had their troubles to seek off the field. Ruthlessness is something Scotland and Edinburgh have traditionally lacked over recent years. You can see why he wanted to bring Barclay home.
Fijian international Viliame Mata is joined by Jamie Ritchie and du Preez in the back row. With news now that John Hardie will be suspended until at least mid-January, Ritchie will probably be used to fill in at openside when Hamish Watson is rested after his autumn exertions. With Luke Crosbie also impressing in recent appearances the back row will be pretty busy next season if everyone is fit and stays with the club: Barclay, Hardie, Watson, Ritchie, Bradbury, Du Preez plus Crosbie if he gets a contract.
Still, it would be a nice problem for Cockers to have.
With a loss to the Cheetahs last weekend, Edinburgh will be looking to salvage something other than an unseasonal tan before their return to the cold embrace of the capital and with the boost in resources should hopefully have enough to cope with the Kings.
Edinburgh: 15. Blair Kinghorn, 14. Dougie Fife, 13. James Johnstone, 12. Phil Burleigh, 11. Duhan van der Merwe, 10. Jaco van der Walt, 9. Nathan Fowles; 1. Rory Sutherland, 2. Neil Cochrane, 3. Simon Berghan, 4. Fraser McKenzie (Capt), 5. Grant Gilchrist, 6. Viliame Mata, 7. Jamie Ritchie, 8. Cornell du Preez.
Replacements: 16 Cameron Fenton, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Murray McCallum, 19 Ben Toolis, 20 Luke Crosbie, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Chris Dean, 23 Glenn Bryce
Southern Kings: Yaw Penxe / Masixole Banda; Michael Makase, Harlon Klassen, Berton Klaasen, Volmink Anthonie / Bock Alshaun; Kurt Coleman, Rudi van Rooyen; Schalk Ferreira (capt), Stephan Coetzee, Rossouw de Klerk; Stephan Greeff, Bobby de Wee; Andisa Ntsila, Martinus Burger, Ruaan Lerm.
Replacements: Alandre van Rooyen, Luvuyo Pupuma, Pieter Scholtz, Lubabalo Mtyanda, Dries van Schalkwyk, Godlen Masimla, Barend Janse van Rensburg, Jacques Nel
At Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday 1 December (kick-off 7.15pm local time / 5.15pm GMT). No word on TV Coverage.