Edinburgh urged to use Pierre Schoeman’s landmark as springboard against league leaders
The popular prop will make his 100th appearance for the capital club in the evening kick-off at Hive Stadium and is sure to be afforded a warm reception from supporters who quickly took him to their hearts upon his arrival from South Africa in 2018. Everitt was effusive in his praise for Schoeman and knows a big performance from the Scotland loosehead would lift the atmosphere against the URC league leaders.
“I’ve known Pierre for a long period of time,” said Everitt. “He was a young junior at the Bulls and playing senior rugby from a very early age. I was fortunate enough to coach his brother, Juan, who’s now plying his trade at Bath.
“He’s a wonderful human being and on top of that he’s a great rugby player who’s well respected by his teammates. He’s a tough customer to contest against in the scrum and gives his all for the jersey. I’m just so happy for him that he’s able to get his 100th game in front of the supporters as I know he’s very popular with them. I’m sure it will be a great occasion for him and hopefully the team will perform in such a way that we can get a win to commemorate his 100th game.”
Edinburgh have already met Connacht this season, going down heavily in a pre-season friendly at the Hive. A young Edinburgh side had led 19-7 at the break but were overpowered in the second half, losing 45-19 in Everitt’s first game in charge. The Irish side have since gone from strength to strength, winning their opening three league matches, all at home. Edinburgh have beaten the Dragons and Lions but came unstuck against Leinster last weekend and Everitt expects a tough test against last season’s URC semi-finalists.
“They are a possession-based team and are really good at holding onto the ball,” said Everitt. “I suppose the conditions in Galway force them to do so, but it’s something they have been doing really well over the past three years. The squad hasn’t changed much. They are a team that’s very cohesive - they’ve played together and know each other.
“They are also a tough team to play against because they go hard at your ball at the breakdown so we need to be really accurate in that area. There was a big improvement against Leinster and we believe that if we can look after our ball and nullify those challenges at the breakdown, we’ll be able to get our attack flowing.”
Edinburgh have made five changes, four of them in the pack where hooker Ewan Ashman comes in for David Cherry; Javan Sebastian is at tighthead in place of WP Nel; Connor Boyle takes over at openside from the injured Hamish Watson and Viliame Mate returns at No 8 after Luke Crosbie suffered a concussion in training. There is also a change at inside centre, with James Lang taking the place of Matt Currie who has a thigh injury. Ben Muncaster is on the bench after playing for Watsonians last weekend. Connacht are still without their three Ireland World Cup players, Bundee Aki, Mack Hansen and Finlay Bealham.
Edinurgh v Connacht (URC, Saturday, Hive Stadium, 7.35pm. TV: live on Viaplay)
Edinburgh: B Kinghorn; W Goosen, M Bennett, J Lang, D van der Merwe; B Healy, C Shiel; P Schoeman, E Ashman, J Sebastian, G Young, G Gilchrist (c), T Dodd, C Boyle, V Mata.
Replacements: D Cherry, B Venter, A Williams, M Sykes, B Muncaster, B Vellacott, C Dean, R McCann.
Connacht: T O’Halloran; J Porch, B Ralston, T Daly, A Smith; J Carty (c), C Blade; P Dooley, T McElroy, J Aungier, N Murray, D Murray, C Prendergast, C Oliver, S O’Brien.
Replacements: D Tierney-Martin, J Duggan, S Illo, J Joyce, J Butler, C Reilly, D Hawkshaw, JJ Hanrahan.
Referee: Ben Whitehouse (WRU).
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