Mark Bennett and Nick Haining return as Edinburgh seek first win of the season

Edinburgh will bid to kick-start their season in Wales on Sunday and include Scotland pair Mark Bennett and Nick Haining in the side to face Scarlets.

Edinburgh's Mark Bennett has been picked to face Scarlets. Picture: Bill Murray / SNS
Edinburgh's Mark Bennett has been picked to face Scarlets. Picture: Bill Murray / SNS

Bennett is back at outside centre after missing last week’s home defeat by Connacht, while Haining slots in at No 8 having been released from Gregor Townsend’s national squad.

Edinburgh have lost their opening three fixtures of the new Guinness Pro14 campaign and it’s six defeats in a row in all competitions when you include the final three games of the delayed 2019-20 campaign.

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It all seems a far cry from pre-lockdown days when the captial club were riding high at the top of Conference B but coach Richard Cockerill saw signs of progress last week.

“We were obviously disappointed with last weekend’s result, but we’re moving in the right direction and the squad have continued to work hard this week,” he said.

“We’ve got quite a few young guys that are still getting used to this level of rugby, but we’re excited to travel to Wales and take on Scarlets in what is always a tough match-up.

“We’ve got a good record at Parc y Scarlets during my time with the club. We know that we’ll have to play the conditions right and match them from the get-go if we are to come away with a positive result.”

Edinburgh were forced into a late change when Eroni Sau had to pull out after his wife gave birth on Friday night. George Taylor takes his place on the wing, with James Johnstone coming on to the bench.

Tighthead prop Murray McCallum make his first start of the season, replacing WP Nel who is named among the substitutes.

Henry Pyrgos takes over the captaincy from fellow scrum-half Nic Groom who drops out of the squad.

The match is at Parc y Scarlets, venue for Wales v Scotland.

Edinburgh (v Scarlets, Parc y Scarlets, Sunday, 6.45pm): Jack Blain; George Taylor, Mark Bennett, Chris Dean, Jamie Farndale; Jaco van der Walt, Henry Pyrgos (c); Pierre Schoeman, Mike Willemse, Murray McCallum, Lewis Carmichael, Andrew Davidson, Magnus Bradbury, Ally Miller, Nick Haining. Replacements: David Cherry, Jamie Bhatti, WP Nel, Andries Ferreira, Connor Boyle, Charlie Shiel, Nathan Chamberlain, James Johnstone.

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