Much like the Glasgow announcement, the players released back to Edinburgh for their trip to South Africa – welcome at this chilly time of year you imagine – give some insight in terms of narrowing down the Scotland team we might see next week.
While Ross Ford continues to warm the bench, Dave Cherry; Luke Crosbie and Chris Dean return from the national squad and start. Dean’s usual centre partner has been moved to the wing which gives George Taylor a chance to start at 13.
Not using Dean suggests that Townsend will opt for either Sam Johnson or Pete Horne to partner Huw Jones – or maybe each other?
In the pack, Luke Hamilton is a welcome return from injury after 4 weeks off and EPCR Player of the Year nominee Bill Mata packs down at Number 8 as usual. Jake Kerr is looking increasingly like the choice to understudy Stuart McInally while Crosbie’s return means Gary Graham or Ryan Wilson could be the most likely to join Hardie and Ritchie in the back row. The Tombola will tell all next week!
Isuzu Southern Kings: Masixole Banda, Yaw Penxe, Harlon Klaasen, Tertius Kruger, Bjorn Basson, Ntabeni Dukisa, Stefan Ungerer, Schalk Ferreira, Mike Willemse, Luvuyo Pupuma, Dries van Schalkwyk, JC Astle, CJ Velleman, Tienie Burger, Andy Ntsila.
Replacements: Alandre van Rooyen, Lupumlo Mguca, Alulutho Tshakweni, Stephan Greeff, Henry Brown, Sarel Pretorius, Bader-Werner Pretorius, Meli Rokoua,
Edinburgh Rugby: Dougie Fife, Tom Brown, George Taylor, Chris Dean, James Johnstone, Jaco van der Walt, Henry Pyrgos, Pierre Schoeman, Dave Cherry, Pietro Ceccarelli, Fraser McKenzie, Callum Hunter-Hill, Luke Crosbie, Ally Miller, Viliame Mata.
Replacements:Ross Ford, Darryl Marfo, Murray McCallum, Jamie Hodgson, Mungo Mason, Nathan Fowles, Simon Hickey, Juan Pablo Socino,
Sat 26th January 2019
NMU (Madibaz) Stadium
Referee: Stuart Berry
Unavailable due to injury: Rory Sutherland; Lewis Carmichael; John Barclay; Magnus Bradbury; Senitiki Nayalo; Hamish Watson; Matt Scott; Mark Bennett; Damien Hoyland
Unavailable due to international selection: Allan Dell; WP Nel; Simon Berghan; Stuart McInally; Grant Gilchrist; Ben Toolis; Jamie Ritchie; Darcy Graham; Blair Kinghorn