Richard Cockerill welcomes return of Hamish Watson and Stuart McInally as Edinburgh look to bounce back against Munster

Richard Cockerill is glad to have two of his key players back in action
Richard Cockerill is glad to have two of his key players back in action
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Richard Cockerill says the return of Edinburgh's World Cup stars Hamish Watson and Stuart McInally could not be better timed as his team looks to bounce back against Munster.

Watson will make his first appearance since being injured in Scotland's opening pool match in Japan while McInally - who skippered Gregor Townsend's team in the Far East - is also ready to resume club action in the Guinness PRO14 clash in Cork on Friday night.

Now Cockerill is hoping the duo's reintroduction to his side will provide the spark they lacked during last week's Challenge Cup meeting with Bordeaux, which saw Edinburgh throw away victory as they allowed the Top 14 outfit to hit back late on to snatch a 16-16 draw.

The Englishman said: "It's great to have Hamish and Stuart back representing Edinburgh Rugby.

"They are both special players who are match winners in their own right. It's a big boost for the club to have them once again available for selection.

"We are looking for a reaction after dropping points at home against Bordeaux last weekend, and the squad will be hungry to put in a quality performance against a very tough opposition in Munster.

"We are certainly under no illusions. Munster are the Conference B leaders who have a great home record.

"However, we've selected a very experienced side that travels to Cork with plenty of confidence."

Few changes to team to face Munster

Cockerill has named an unchanged back-three consisting of Blair Kinghorn at fullback in between wingers Duhan van der Merwe and Eroni Sau.

Scotland centre duo Matt Scott and Mark Bennett link-up in midfield, while stand-off Jaco van der Walt and skipper Henry Pyrgos are selected at half-back.

McInally returns at hooker and packs down alongside Pierre Schoeman and Pietro Ceccarelli in an otherwise unchanged front-row, with Ben Toolis and Grant Gilchrist both selected in the second-row.

Fijian No. 8 Viliame Mata anchors a back-row with the returning Watson and blindside flanker Magnus Bradbury completing the pack.