Edinburgh Rugby v Connacht Rugby
Date: Fri 21st February 2020
Venue: BT Murrayfield, TV coverage on Premier Sports
Despite a huge list of absentees (see below), Richard Cockerill can still put out a decent back row and midfield to welcome the men from Galway.
There will be a debut for new signing from Exeter Stan South who partners Lewis Carmichael in the second row, as well as possibly a first appearance for academy prop Dan Winning. Murray McCallum also makes a welcome showing on the bench while Simon Berghan is released from the Scotland squad to start at tighthead.
In the backs, Hickey gets the nod at standoff and Nic Groom will skipper the side. Disappointingly for them but luckily for Edinburgh, Scott, Bennett and van der Merwe remain untroubled by international call ups; for the latter at least that should only last until the summer when he qualifies.
Edinburgh Rugby: Damien Hoyland, Eroni Sau, Mark Bennett, Matt Scott, Duhan van der Merwe, Simon Hickey, Nic Groom, Pierre Schoeman, Mike Willemse, Simon Berghan, Stan South, Lewis Carmichael, Nick Haining, Luke Crosbie, Viliame Mata.
Replacements: Cameron Fenton, Murray McCallum, Daniel Winning, Jamie Hodgson, John Barclay, Charlie Shiel, Jaco van der Walt, George Taylor.
Connacht Rugby: Tiernan O’Halloran, Niyi Adeolokun, Kyle Godwin, Peter Robb, John Porch, Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion, Denis Buckley, Shane Delahunt, Finlay Bealham, Niall Murray, Joe Maksymiw, Paul Boyle, Colby Fainga’a, Jarrad Butler.
Replacements: Jonny Murphy, Paddy McAllister, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Eoghan Masterson, Eoin McKeon, Caolin Blade, Conor Fitzgerald, Tom Daly.
Referee: Marius Mitrea
Unavailable: Jack Stanley, David Cherry, Jack Blain, Fraser McKenzie, Rory Sutherland, Stuart McInally, Ben Toolis, Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Magnus Bradbury, Blair Kinghorn, WP Nel, Grant Gilchrist, Henry Pyrgos, Jamie Bhatti, Darcy Graham, Pietro Ceccarelli
Glasgow Warriors v Dragons
Date: Sat 22nd February 2020
Venue: Scotstoun Stadium
Dave Rennie has made six changes to the team that defeated Zebre in swashbuckling style last weekend, with a first start for 18 year old Jamie Dobie who is such a hot prospect he is being retained by the Warriors rather than released to the U20s who could undoubtedly use him.
Tighthead Ewan Mcquillan could also be in line to make his first appearance since joining on a short-term deal from Super6 side the Southern Knights.
Ryan Wilson – who was forced to sign a new 2 year rugby deal this week following a lack of record contract offers for Glasgow Warriors band The Scrumbags – will co-captain the side with Callum Gibbins while Leone Nakarawa completes the back row.
Huw Jones is straight back into the side after being released by the Scotland squad, as is Ratu Tagive on the wing while Bryce continues the Glennaissance of his career at fullback.
Glasgow Warriors: Glenn Bryce, Tommy Seymour, Huw Jones, Nick Grigg, Ratu Tagive, Pete Horne, Jamie Dobie; Aki Seiuli, Grant Stewart, Oli Kebble, Rob Harley, Tim Swinson, Leone Nakarawa, Callum Gibbins, Ryan Wilson.
Replacements: Mesulame Dolokoto, Alex Allan, Ewan McQuillin, Andrew Davidson, Chris Fusaro, Nick Frisby, Ruaridh Jackson, Nikola Matawalu.
Dragons: Joe Goodchild, Jared Rosser, Adam Warren, Jack Dixon, Ashton Hewitt, Sam Davies, Rhodri Williams, Brok Harris, Ellis Shipp, Lloyd Fairbrother, Joe Davies, Matthew Screech, Huw Taylor, Ollie Griffiths, Harri Keddie.
Replacements: Rhys Lawrence, Josh Reynolds, Aaron Jarvis, Max Williams, Taine Basham, Tavis Knoyle, Connor Edwards, Jacob Botica.
Referee: Sean Gallagher
Not available due to injury: Adam Ashe (calf), Bruce Flockhart (back), Jonny Gray (hand), Siua Halanukonuka (calf), Kiran McDonald (hip), Stafford McDowall (Calf), Robbie Nairn (knee), D’arcy Rae (hand), Adam Nicol (calf), Jale Vakalaloma (shoulder), DTH van der Merwe (foot)