Jamie Ritchie and Duhan van der Merwe back as Edinburgh Rugby make SEVEN changes for Munster clash
Edinburgh have brought back big guns Jamie Ritchie and Duhan van der Merwe for Saturday night’s clash with Munster in Limerick.
The capital side have made seven changes in total as they seek to arrest a run of four consecutive defeats.
Three of those came at the end of last season but the new Guinness Pro14 campaign got off to a disspiriting start last weekend when they went down to a rather meek 25-10 loss to Ospreys at BT Murrayfield.
Van der Merwe was unavailable through injury for the Ospreys game while Ritchie missed out because he had been in contact with a family member who was self-isolating.
Van der Merwe, the Pro14 player of the season for 2019-20, replaces Jamie Farndale on the wing and his return will add power and pace to the Edinburgh ranks.
Scotland flanker Ritchie comes in at blindside in place of the injured Magnus Bradbury.
There two changes to the front row, with Scotland props Rory Sutherland and WP Nel starting ahead of Simon Berghan and Pierre Schoeman who both drop to the bench.
Hamish Watson and George Taylor – who both featured as substitutes in the defeat by Ospreys – get the nod at openside and inside centre respectively, while Nic Groom returns to start at scrum-half in place of Charlie Shiel who is injured.
Watson replaces Luke Crosbie and Taylor comes in for Chris Dean.
It’s a new look centre pairing which sees Taylor and Mark Bennett combine in midfield, while scrum-half Groom – who makes his first appearance since last month’s Pro14 semi-final – links up with stand-off Jaco van der Walt at half-back.
Munster kicked off their season with a 30-27 away win at Scarlets, and Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill said: “I think we’ve got to go there and put in a performance that’s worthy of us as a team. If we get our performance and mentality right, there’s no reason why we can’t push them very hard and be in the game to try and win it.
“We still have some guys missing but we have a good side and we’ve got to front up. We need positives from the game, hopefully the points, but we need to start playing better in key moments. Munster have a great team but we have our own expectations and standards to live up to.
“We’re looking forward to facing a talented Munster side tomorrow night and the boys are up for the challenge.”
Edinburgh team to play Munster (Thomond Park, Guinness PRO14 , Saturday 10 October, 7.35pm, live on Premier Sports)
15. Damien Hoyland
14. Darcy Graham
13. Mark Bennett
12. George Taylor
11. Duhan van der Merwe
10. Jaco van der Walt
9. Nic Groom
1. Rory Sutherland
2. Stuart McInally
3. WP Nel
4. Ben Toolis
5. Grant Gilchrist
6. Jamie Ritchie
7. Hamish Watson
8. Nick Haining
Substitutes: 16. Mike Willemse, 17. Pierre Schoeman, 18 Simon Berghan, 19. Andrew Davidson, 20. Mesulame Kunavula, 21. Dan Nutton, 22. Nathan Chamberlain, 23. James Johnstone.
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