Kennedy and Watson to start against Munster

The value of Edinburgh Rugby's two pre-season warm-ups is evident in the team selection for tomorrow's (Friday 5 September) opening fixture in the Guinness PRO12, against Munster.

Some of the standout performers in the matches against Leicester Tigers and Newcastle Falcons have been recognised with a place in the starting XV, which covers a range of age and experience.
 
Booking the openside berth for the Thomond Park fixture is Hamish Watson, who gave a man-of-the-match performance at the Greenyards a fortnight ago.
 
Watson, a Scotland under-19 and under-20 capped internationalist, is a graduate of Edinburgh's Elite Development Programme (EDP) and will be making his seventh start from 17 appearances to date for the club.
 
He said: "The warm-up matches were a pretty good chance to put a marker down and show who should be selected.


 "It's been a long pre-season so I'm keen to get going. Our new strength and conditioning coach [Johan Pretorious] has put us through our paces and we're all in a better place for it. 

"There's a really positive mood in camp and Munster away will be a good test. I've never played at Thomond Park before so I'm really looking forward to it.”
 
Meanwhile, despite stiff competition, the starting scrum half spot has been secured by Stirling-born 23-year-old, Sean Kennedy, also a product of Scotland age-grade international squads.
 Kennedy said: "I've been training away hard all summer with Grayson [Hart], Sammy [Hidalgo-Clyne] and the two young boys, Alex Glashan and Hugh Fraser. I wouldn't say I was first choice but maybe the coaches saw I could bring something to this game. 

"Having that competition brings out the best in all of us which is a good thing for everyone.” 

With fourteen first team appearances to his name, Kennedy has faced the Irishmen before, playing against Munster at the start of last season when Greig Laidlaw was out injured, and is under no illusions of the task in hand.
 
He said: "I expect them to be massively physical, hard at the breakdown and strong up front – a typical Munster team. They've got a new coaching staff this year, so maybe their style will have changed slightly.”
 
What won't have changed for Kennedy, however, are his memories of the venue and the city. He said:

"I grew up in Limerick for the first ten years of my life, supported Munster and rugby was everything – so I have plenty of family and friends coming to support the game tomorrow!”  

Edinburgh Rugby team v Munster, Friday 5 September, Thomond Park, Limerick, kick-off 7.35pm
 
15 Jack Cuthbert
 
14 Dougie Fife
13 Sam Beard
12 Andries Strauss
11 Tim Visser
 
10 Greig Tonks
9 Sean Kennedy
 
1 Alasdair Dickinson
2 Ross Ford (Captain)
3 John Andress
4 Fraser McKenzie
5 Ollie Atkins
6 Tomas Leonardi
7 Hamish Watson
8 Cornell Du Preez
 
Substitutes
16 James Hilterbrand
17 Rory Sutherland
18 W P Nel
19 Ben Toolis
20 Mike Coman
21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne
22 Nick McLennan
23 Phil Burleigh
 
Where to watch the match
 
Edinburgh Rugby hooker, Stuart McInally, will be providing match analysis, alongside commentator Hugh Dan MacLennan, for Friday's opening season fixture against Munster at Thomond Park. The match will be shown live on BBC Alba (from 7.30pm) with the game repeated on Saturday (6 September) at 11pm.
 
Alternative commentary is available via the red button for this live coverage. Viewers watching via a Virgin TiVo box should press the info button and navigate to the 'alternative commentary' button.
 
Sky Sports will be showing highlights of the match via their online digital platform early next week. Highlights from all the matches televised by Sky will be available on Sunday nights while highlights from their non-televised matches will be published online shortly thereafter.