Cockerill names side for Guinness PRO14 opener

Head Coach Richard Cockerill has named his Edinburgh side for the club’s Guinness PRO14 opener tomorrow (Friday 1 September) against Cardiff Blues at Cardiff Arms Park (kick-off 7.35pm) – live on BBC ALBA. 

Jason Harries will make his competitive debut for Edinburgh

Blair Kinghorn starts at full-back with Dougie Fife and Jason Harries – who will make his first competitive start for the club – named on the wings. 

Chris Dean and Junior Rasolea start in the centre, with Scotland internationalists Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and Duncan Weir combining as the half-back pairing. 

Loosehead prop Darryl Marfo will make his competitive debut in the front-row alongside club centurions Stuart McInally and WP Nel, with Anton Bresler and Grant Gilchirst packing down in the second-row.

Newly appointed captain, Magnus Bradbury, is joined in the back-row by Jamie Ritchie and John Hardie, who occupy the blindside and openside flank respectively.

On his team selection, Cockerill said: “I’m optimistic. The boys have had a good pre-season, but I’m sure everyone is saying the same in that regard. We’ve had a couple of good weeks, we just need to make sure we go and we put our best game out on the field. 

“Cardiff are a dangerous side, both from their drive in the forward pack and the fact they like to play an unstructured game. They’ve got players that can punish you if you’re inaccurate. We’ve prepared well, but we just don’t know what to expect until we get into the live scenario. We’re going there to win, that’s our mentality and so it should be. We’re looking forward to it. 

“It’s my first experience [of Cardiff Arms Park]. There’s a synthetic field, which will make the game quick, and we’ve not won there for the last four years so it’s going to be a challenge for us. The playing group are in a good place, but we need to make sure that we go there and do the job. We’ve got to have a tough mind-set and physically we’ve got to be very good. It’s important that we get off to a good start and bring some points back. 

“We’ve got internationals that are coming back in and available and we’ve got guys that have done 11 or 12 weeks of pre-season. We’ve picked a team which we feel is the right squad, because of the dynamics of bringing international guys back in – some will feature, some won’t. It’s a long season so in the here and now we’ve picked what I think is the best side to go to Cardiff and win.” 

Edinburgh team to play Cardiff Blues at Cardiff Arms Park in the Guinness PRO14 tomorrow (Friday 1 September, kick-off 7.35pm) – live on BBC ALBA 

15. Blair Kinghorn (42)

14. Dougie Fife (62)
13. Chris Dean (42)
12. Junior Rasolea (13)
11. Jason Harries *

10. Duncan Weir (20)
9. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (82)

1. Darryl Marfo *
2. Stuart McInally (101)
3. WP Nel (103)
4. Anton Bresler (53)
5. Grant Gilchrist (98)
6. Jamie Ritchie (30)
7. John Hardie (19)
8. Magnus Bradbury CAPTAIN (31)


16. Ross Ford (175)
17. Michele Rizzo *
18. Simon Berghan (31)
19. Ben Toolis (69)
20. Cornell du Preez (79)
21. Nathan Fowles (33)
22. Jason Tovey (24)
23. Glenn Bryce (22)


Edinburgh Rugby appearances in brackets
* Edinburgh Rugby competitve debut