Scotland lock Grant Gilchrist makes his 150th appearance as Edinburgh Rugby welcome back a cohort of internationalists for tomorrow night’s Guinness PRO14 Semi-Final against Ulster at BT Murrayfield (Saturday 5 September, kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports.
The inclusion of Gilchrist is one of eight changes the capital side make as Scotland stars Mark Bennett, Rory Sutherland, Stuart McInally, WP Nel and Ben Toolis all return to the starting XV.
Experienced half-back pairing Jaco van der Walt and Nic Groom also get the nod for Edinburgh Rugby’s first-ever Guinness PRO14 Semi-Final appearance.
Ahead of the fixture, Head Coach Richard Cockerill, said: “We want to go as far as we can and test ourselves to see how good we are. If we’re good enough we’ll win, and if we’re not, we’ll get exactly what we deserve.
“As a club, we’ve been building to this point and I’m hoping those experiences of the last three seasons will come to fruition on Saturday night. It’s about knowing how to play knock-out rugby and not playing an exhibition.
“Ulster are a great side. We look forward to the challenge and we know at the pressure moments we need to deliver. This is new territory for us. We’re capable – if we get things right – to get to a final and see how good we can be.”
An unchanged back-three sees Blair Kinghorn continue at fullback alongside wing duo Darcy Graham and Duhan van der Merwe.
Chris Dean retains his place in midfield and is paired with 22-times capped centre Bennett, while the aforementioned pairing of Groom and Van der Walt get the nod at half-back.
An all-Scotland front-row sees captain McInally pack down alongside prop duo Sutherland and Nel, while Toolis returns from injury to partner Gilchrist – who becomes only the eighth player in club history to reach 150 appearances – in the second-row.
Fijian international No. 8 Viliame Mata anchors an unaltered back-row that sees flankers Magnus Bradbury and Hamish Watson complete the pack.
Elsewhere, Scotland star Jamie Ritchie returns from injury and is named among the replacements for the post-season clash.
Edinburgh Rugby team to face Ulster in the Guinness PRO14 Semi-Final at BT Murrayfield on Saturday 5 September (kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports
- Blair Kinghorn (89)
- Darcy Graham (31)
- Mark Bennett (37)
- Chris Dean (90)
- Duhan van der Merwe (59)
- Jaco van der Walt (56)
- Nic Groom (12)
- Rory Sutherland (83)
- Stuart McInally (144) CAPTAIN
- WP Nel (141)
- Ben Toolis (119)
- Grant Gilchrist (149)
- Magnus Bradbury (76)
- Hamish Watson (109)
- Viliame Mata (73)
Replacements: 16. Mike Willemse (20) 17. Pierre Schoeman (42) 18. Simon Berghan (80) 19. Andrew Davidson (1) 20. Jamie Ritchie (68) 21. Charlie Shiel (18) 22. Nathan Chamberlain (2) 23. George Taylor (21)