Edinburgh ‘don’t need fired up’ to bounce back from Zebre loss

Scotland 7s star Ally Miller gets the nod at openside flanker. Picture: SNS Group
Scotland 7s star Ally Miller gets the nod at openside flanker. Picture: SNS Group
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Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill insists he will not need to fire up his side as they look to bounce back from last week’s humiliating Zebre loss.

The Murrayfield side blew a 13-point half-time lead as they crashed 34-16 to the Italians in the Guinness PRO14 last Friday.

It was a major setback for Cockerill’s outfit, just six days after they shot down French giants Toulon in the Heineken Champions Cup.

But ahead of facing Scarlets in Llanelli on Friday night, Cockerill said: “I don’t think we have to lift the players - the players are motivated to win.

“We clearly weren’t good enough at Zebre, but we’ve worked really hard this week and will leave everything out on the field come Friday night.”

Cockerill will not, however, be able to call on a clutch of his Scotland stars for the Parc y Scarlets showdowns after Gregor Townsend called up 10 Edinburgh players to face Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

Dark Blues internationals Tom Brown and Murray McCallum do, however, return for the capital outfit while Scotland Sevens squad member Ally Miller is given his Edinburgh debut at openside flanker.

In the back three, Brown - who makes his first home appearance of the season - is joined on the opposite flank by Duhan van der Merwe and full-back Dougie Fife.

An unchanged centre pairing sees Chris Dean partnered by James Johnstone in midfield, while Simon Hickey is named at stand-off alongside scrum-half and skipper Henry Pyrgos.

In the front row, experienced hooker Ross Ford packs down alongside Pierre Schoeman and McCallum, while an unchanged second-row combination sees Jamie Hodgson and Callum Hunter-Hill both make the first home appearances of their careers.

The inclusion of debutant Miller is the only alteration to an otherwise unchanged back row as Luke Hamilton and Fijian international Bill Mata keep their place in the starting XV.

“It will be a challenge for us, but the only way for young players to get blooded and learn is by playing them,” added Cockerill.

“We’ve got to work hard with the players we’ve got, roll up our sleeves and prepare as well as we can to try and win on Friday night.”

Edinburgh team: 15. Dougie Fife 14. Tom Brown 13. James Johnstone 12. Chris Dean 11. Duhan van der Merwe 10. Simon Hickey 9. Henry Pyrgos 1. Pierre Schoeman 2. Ross Ford 3. Murray McCallum 4. Jamie Hodgson 5. Callum Hunter-Hill 6. Luke Hamilton 7. Ally Miller 8. Bill Mata.

Replacements: 16. David Cherry 17. Rory Sutherland 18. Pietro Ceccarelli 19. Callum Atkinson 20. Lewis Wynne 21. Nathan Fowles 22. Jason Baggott 23. Juan Pablo Socino.