Adam McBurney, Matt Currie, Boan Venter and Nick Haining named in Edinburgh team to play London Irish
Schoeman, who is named among the substitutes, is replaced by Boan Venter at loosehead. With McInally ruled out by a neck injury, hooker Adam McBurney comes into the side for only his second appearance. Dave Cherry is also unavailable and Patrick Harrison is on the bench for Edinburgh who signed Southern Knights hooker Fraser Renwick this week on a short-term deal to provide additional cover.
The third change in the pack sees a reshuffle in the back row, with Jamie Ritchie moving from blindside to openside to replace Watson and Haining coming in at six. Magnus Bradbury, last week’s man of the match, stays at No 8.
In the backs, Bennett, who scored two excellent tries against Cardiff, makes way for Matt Currie, the young outside centre who signed his first pro contract with Edinburgh this week.
Both sides go into the game having recorded impressive wins in their opening Challenge Cup ties. Edinburgh beat Saracens away 21-18 while London Irish defeated Pau 33-17 in France.
Blair admitted that he had had to make some tough decisions on who to leave out for the match at Brentford Community Stadium.
“Selection has been one of the hardest parts of the job so far, because guys are training well and putting their hands up, but guys are performing on the pitch as well,” said the Edinburgh coach.
“We’ve spent a lot of time selecting this side and we believe we’ve got a team that can go out there and challenge London Irish.
“We were really pleased with the performance against Cardiff, we left a couple of opportunities out there, but we really enjoyed the intent and the physicality – both important parts of our game – and we’ve just been building on them in training to bring into this weekend’s game.
“I love the way London Irish play. They move the ball around a lot, are really innovative with what they’re trying to do, with their set plays and scrum plays - I think it’ll be an excellent game.”
Edinburgh Rugby (v London Irish, European Challenge Cup, Brentford Community Stadium, Saturday, 3.15pm. Streamed live at epcrugby.tv)
15. Henry Immelman
14. Emiliano Boffelli
13. Matt Currie
12. James Lang
11. Ramiro Moyano
10. Blair Kinghorn
9. Ben Vellacott
1. Boan Venter
2. Adam McBurney
3. WP Nel
4. Jamie Hodgson
5. Grant Gilchrist (c)
6. Nick Haining
7. Jamie Ritchie
8. Magnus Bradbury
16. Patrick Harrison
17. Pierre Schoeman
18. Lee-Roy Atalifo
19. Marshall Sykes
20. Connor Boyle
21. Charlie Shiel
22. Jaco Van der Walt
23. Chris Dean
Don't miss out on a 30 per cent discount on an annual sports subscription. We have a special offer throughout January where you can get a reduced package. Visit https://www.scotsman.com/subscriptions/sports for more details
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.