Coach Mike Bennett has named three SA-born players in the Edinburgh matchday squad for Saturday’s clash against the Sharks at Kings Park.
Former Cheetahs prop Boan Venter will form a new front-row pairing with Lee-Roy Atalifo for Edinburgh in the first meeting between the two Vodacom United Rugby Championship sides.
Fellow ex-Free Stater Luan de Bruin and SA-born Scotland utility back Jaco van der Walt have also been named on the bench, as the Scottish side welcome back seven Scotland internationals to the starting XV.
Emiliano Boffelli replaces another SA native, Henry Immelman, at fullback for the visitors, the 25-capped Argentine a familiar sight for the Sharks after having played for the Jaguares in Super Rugby.
Also, Hamish Watson, who returns at No 7, was named Man of the Match for the British & Irish Lions on South African soil in a rampant 56-14 win over the Lions in 2021.
“We’re here to do something special. No travelling team has won in South Africa in the URC so far this season and we want to do everything we can to change that,” Bennett told the club’s official website. “But, in saying that, we’re under no illusion about the task ahead as the Sharks are a quality side, with a number of Springboks in their ranks.
“After a long flight and recovery to start the week, we’ve trained excellently and an intensity has been building ahead of [Saturday’s] clash. We’re really proud to represent the city and club on South African soil and the guys are excited for what is going to be a massive test.”
Edinburgh – 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Mark Bennett (c), 12 James Lang, 11 Freddie Owsley, 10 Blair Kinghorn, 9 Ben Vellacott, 8 Ben Muncaster, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Magnus Bradbury, 5 Jamie Hodgson, 4 Pierce Phillips, 3 Lee-Roy Atalifo, 2 Dave Cherry, 1 Boan Venter.
Subs: 16 Adam McBurney, 17 Harrison Courtney, 18 Luan de Bruin, 19 Glen Young, 20 Connor Boyle, 21 Charlie Shiel, 22 Jaco van der Walt, 23 Chris Dean.