Edinburgh Rugby make one change to team for clash with Cardiff Blues

South African hooker Mike Willemse will make his first start for Edinburgh Rugby. Pic: SNS
South African hooker Mike Willemse will make his first start for Edinburgh Rugby. Pic: SNS
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Edinburgh Rugby head coach Richard Cockerill has made one change to his first XV for Saturday's Guinness PRO14 match away at Cardiff Blues.

Hooker Matt Willemse comes into the front row to replace the injured David Cherry. It will be the 26-year-old South African's first competitive start since joining from Golden Lions in the summer.

Apart from Willemse, it will be the same team that performed so well in the 50-15 victory over Zebre in the league curtain-raiser that will take to the field at Cardiff Arms Park (kick-off 5.15pm).

Cockerill said: “We were clearly motivated against Zebre. We have worked hard at our fitness and we are trying to play a bit differently this year. Hopefully people will start to see us being a bit more threatening with ball in hand.

“This weekend is about getting our preparations right. We started the 2017/18 season there and won. Our first year together as group we were very good away from home, but last year we had a habit of losing those matches by very close margins.

“Cardiff aren’t missing as many guys as we are and they will probably be thinking they can get off to a good start in the competition. We know their threats and they are a good team – but we’re a good team as well and we’re going there to win."

He added on www.edinburghrugby.org: “If we get it right and play as well as I know we can, we’ll definitely give ourselves an opportunity to do that.”

Edinburgh team to play Cardiff Blues: 15. Damien Hoyland; 14. Jamie Farndale, 13. Mark Bennett, 12. Matt Scott, 11. Duhan van der Merwe; 10. Jaco van der Walt, 9. Nic Groom (captain); 1. Pierre Schoeman, 2. Mike Willemse, 3. Pietro Ceccarelli, 4. Fraser McKenzie, 5. Murray Douglas, 6. Lewis Carmichael, 7. Luke Crosbie, 8. Nick Haining. Replacements: 16. Cameron Fenton, 17. Jamie Bhatti, 18. Murray McCallum, 19. Mesu Kunavula, 20. Ally Miller, 21. Charlie Shiel, 22. Simon Hickey, 23. George Taylor.