Hooker Ross Ford will make his 150th appearance for holders Edinburgh in Sunday’s opening 1872 Cup clash against Glasgow at BT Murrayfield.
Scotland’s most-capped forward, who joined from the Border Reivers in 2007, will pack down in the front row with his international team-mate WP Nel but not loosehead Al Dickinson, who is still out with a calf injury. Rory Sutherland continues in that role.
Kelso man Ford was Andy Robinson’s first Edinburgh signing eight years ago and made his debut for the club at Connacht in October 2007. He made his 94th Scotland appearance in the Rugby World Cup quarter-final after overtaking Scott Murray as the nation’s most capped forward in the warm-up Test against Italy in Turin.
Edinburgh are looking to defend the trophy they won 26-24 on aggregate last season and the first match will be played in front of a record crowd with ticket sales already well beyond the 15,810 who attended BT Murrayfield at the start of the year.
Coach Alan Solomons makes just two changes from the starting XV which beat London Irish in the European Challenge Cup last Friday and both of those are in the back three. Jack Cuthbert is preferred at full-back to Greig Tonks, who drops to the bench, and Dougie Fife returns on the right wing in place of Damien Hoyland.
Scotland lock Ben Toolis could make his comeback as a substitute after being out since September with an elbow injury he sustained in Treviso. Solomons said: “We’re all delighted that we’ll have such a big crowd adding to the atmosphere of what is always a hard-fought fixture.
“With both clubs winning their European fixtures last weekend, the teams will be looking for the momentum to carry through to a winning performance on Sunday. We know how keen Glasgow are to win back the trophy – and how intent we are on retaining it – so I’ve no doubt it will be a highly physical encounter.
“Our pack were, again, excellent last weekend and, on a personal note, I’d like to congratulate Ross Ford on reaching a milestone 150 caps. It’s a great achievement from a player who has been a magnificent servant to the club.”