Scotland centre Mark Bennett to make Edinburgh debut

Edinburgh's Mark Bennett has fully recovered from a serious knee injury. Picture: Gary Hutchison/SNS
Edinburgh's Mark Bennett has fully recovered from a serious knee injury. Picture: Gary Hutchison/SNS
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Scotland centre Mark Bennett will finally make his Edinburgh debut on Friday when the capital side face Southern Kings at Myreside in the Guinness Pro14.

The 20-times capped Bennett moved to Edinburgh from Glasgow in the summer but has been recuperating from a serious knee injury sustained against England in last season’s Six Nations.

He had surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament damage and has now fully recovered.

Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill said: “Mark has worked incredibly hard to return from injury, so we’re delighted that he’s able to make his first start for the club in front of our supporters at Myreside.”

The 24-year-old is joined in the centre against the South African side by Phil Burleigh.

Cockerill has made five changes in total to the side that lost 17-0 to Glasgow Warriors in last weekend’s 1872 Cup second leg at Scotstoun.

Dougie Fife is the only alteration to an otherwise unchanged back-three. The winger – who touched down against Southern Kings in last month’s fixture in Port Elizabeth – joins Duhan van der Merwe on the wing, whilst Blair Kinghorn keeps his place at full back.

In the front row, new prop Jordan Lay gets the nod at loosehead and packs down alongside Murray McCallum and hooker Stuart McInally, who once again captains the side. Samoan international Lay joined the club last week from New Zealand side Bay of Plenty Steamers.

Ben Toolis and Grant Gilchrist form the second row, whilst Magnus Bradbury returns to the starting XV to link up with Hamish Watson and Cornell du Preez in the back row.

Edinburgh team (v Southern Kings, Myreside, Friday, 7.35pm, live on BBC Alba)

15. Blair Kinghorn

14. Dougie Fife

13. Mark Bennett

12. Phil Burleigh

11. Duhan van der Merwe

10. Jaco van der Walt

9. Nathan Fowles

1. Jordan Lay

2. Stuart McInally (capt)

3. Murray McCallum

4. Ben Toolis

5. Grant Gilchrist

6. Magnus Bradbury

7. Hamish Watson

8. Cornell du Preez

Replacements: 16. Cameron Fenton, 17. Elliot Millar-Mills, 18. Matt Shields, 19. Fraser McKenzie, 20. Viliame Mata, 21. Sean Kennedy, 22. Chris Dean, 23. Damien Hoyland (55).