Richard Cockerill rings changes for Edinburgh’s clash with Cheetahs

Duhan Van Der Merwe will make his debut for Edinburgh in his homeland. Picture: SNS Group
Duhan Van Der Merwe will make his debut for Edinburgh in his homeland. Picture: SNS Group
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Richard Cockerill has shaken up his Edinburgh line-up ahead of the Gunners’ first trip to South Africa.

The capital outfit become the latest Guinness PRO14 outfit to make the long-haul flight to take on the league’s two new entrants, with Cheetahs first up at the Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday ahead of next week’s Southern Kings showdown.

And Cockerill has looked to freshen up his team ahead of that opening clash by making seven changes to the side that earned a bonus-point victory over Ospreys at Myreside three weeks ago.

Forwards Simon Berghan, Grant Gilchrist and Cornell Du Preez are all part of the Scotland line-up preparing to face Australia on Saturday, while Nathan Fowles has dropped to the bench, with Phil Burleigh, Tom Brown and Jamie Ritchie spared action.

Wing Duhan van der Merwe makes his competitive debut for the club in his homeland, with Dougie Fife on the opposite flank and Blair Kinghorn at full-back.

In the midfield, Chris Dean gets the nod to partner James Johnstone having come off the bench to make his 50th appearance for the club in the victory over Ospreys.

The experienced duo of Jason Tovey and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne continue their half-back partnership.

In the forwards, Neil Cochrane starts at hooker having returned from international duty with Scotland and packs down alongside Michele Rizzo and Murray McCallum, who makes his first start of the season.

Lock Anton Besler returns to the second row and is partnered by club captain Fraser McKenzie.

An industrious back row sees the youthful pairing of Luke Crosbie and Lewis Carmichael pack down alongside Viliame Mata, who gets the nod at number eight.