Edinburgh hand two URC debuts against Dragons as Mike Blair welcomes Scotland internationals back to team

Edinburgh head coach Mike Blair has restored four Scotland internationals to the side to face the Dragons in Wales this weekend – and they will be joined by two debutants.

Head coach Mike Blair during an Edinburgh Rugby training session at the DAM Health Stadium. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Head coach Mike Blair during an Edinburgh Rugby training session at the DAM Health Stadium. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

WP Nel, Nick Haining, James Lang and Magnus Bradbury’s returns will all add to the international experience in the capital city side’s line-up which already boasts newly capped trio of Jamie Hodgson, Marshall Sykes and Luke Crosbie.

And they will be joined by Argentinian international full-back Emiliano Boffelli fresh from his country’s Autumn internationals on his first start for the club, alongside countryman Ramiro Moyano.

Adam McBurney – a summer signing from Ulster Rugby – has also been handed his first start for Saturday evening’s United Rugby Championship game at Rodney Parade.

Edinburgh's WP Nel will return to action in the United Rugby Championship. (Photo by Bruce White / SNS Group)

After the international break, Blair has re-iterated to his team just how important the next schedule of fixtures is to Edinburgh.

He said: “Dragons is always a challenging fixture at Rodney Parade. I’m expecting a really good performance.

"The guys that have been here for the last four-week block have worked really hard on their skills and what’s important to our overall game. While the guys that have come back from international camps have brought energy and their own learnings – so they should gel really well.”

Edinburgh enter the match on a high after their bonus point win over Zebre Parma last month and will be captained by on-form Ben Vellacott in Newport – the scrum-half has four tries in his last five games.

Blair Kinghorn and Luke Crosbie have been named as vice-captains while FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy centre Matt Currie gets the nod in midfield.

The Argentine duo in the back three are joined by Damien Hoyland while a new-look front-row sees McBurney pack down alongside Venter and Nel on his first start. New Scotland caps Hodgson and Sykes are named in the second-row to complete a revamped tight-five.

Blindside flanker Haining makes his first Edinburgh appearance of the season after starting for Scotland against South Africa at BT Murrayfield earlier this month, while openside Crosbie and number 8 Bradbury form the remainder of the pack.

Watsonians’ FOSROC Super6 product Harrison Courtney is named among the substitutes and the loosehead prop could make his professional debut in the Premier Sports televised game, which kick off at 5.15pm.

Edinburgh: Venter, McBurney, Nel, Sykes, Hodgson, Haining, Crosbie (VC), Brdbury, Vellacott ©, Kinghorn (VC), Moyano, Lang, Currie, Hoyland, Boffelli.Replacements: Cherry, Courtney, Williams, Boyle, Muncaster, Pyrgos, Savala, Hutchison.

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