Three players handed first starts in Edinburgh Euro opener

Viliame Mata will make his Edinburgh debut in Romania

Viliame Mata will make his Edinburgh debut in Romania

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Acting Edinburgh Rugby head coach Duncan Hodge has handed three players their full debuts for tomorrow’s opening European Challenge Cup fixture against Timisoara Saracens in Romania (kick-off 12.00).

Fijian flanker Viliame Mata, 24, who won gold with his country in the Rugby Sevens in Rio, makes his first appearance for Edinburgh at blindside flanker, while 23-year-old Australian Alex Northam debuts on the right wing.

Twenty-year old prop Murray McCallum also makes his first start for the club, after making his debut as a replacement in last weekend’s 45-10 win against Treviso.

The three debutants are part of 11 changes to the side that beat the Italian club.

Rory Scholes comes in at full-back, with Michael Allen pairing up with Northam on the wing. Junior Rasoela partners outside-centre Sasa Tofilau in the centre, while Sam Hidalgo-Clyne makes only his second start of the season at scrum-half.

Allan Dell and Stuart McInally replace Rory Sutherland and Ross Ford in the front row, while Fraser McKenzie joins Ben Toolis at lock. John Hardie replaces the injured Hamish Watson at openside flanker.

Edinburgh: Backs; Scholes, Northam, Tofilau, Rasolea, Allen, Tovey, Hidalgo-Clyne. Forwards; Dell, McInally (c), McCallum, McKenzie, Toolis, Mata, Hardie, Manu. Replacements: Cochrane, Sutherland, Cosgrove, Carmichael, Fihaki, Fowles, Kinghorn, Bryce.

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