PRO14 Preview: Friday

Date published: September 13 2018

There are two games scheduled in the PRO14 on Friday as Edinburgh face Connacht at Murrayfield while Munster play host to the Ospreys.

Edinburgh v Connacht

Edinburgh boss Richard Cockerill has made three changes to the side that faced Ulster in Belfast last weekend, with flanker Hamish Watson, wing Duhan van der Merwe and centre James Johnstone all coming into the starting XV.

Scotland star Watson – who was unavailable for selection last weekend due to the birth of his first child – is named in the back-row with fellow international Luke Hamilton who switches to Number eight in the place of the injured Bill Mata.

Mark Bennett drops out of contention due to injury and is replaced by Johnstone in midfield, whilst Van der Merwe returns to action after missing out on the trip to Belfast last weekend.

The South African winger is named in the place of Tom Brown, who fails to recover after picking up a knock again
In the back-three, Blair Kinghorn starts at full-back alongside Scotland international winger Dougie Fife and the once again fit, Van der Merwe.

Matt Scott – who makes his first Edinburgh appearance at BT Murrayfield since May 2016 – is joined in the midfield by Johnstone, while Henry Pyrgos and Simon Hickey both make their home debuts after being named at half-back.

An unchanged front-row sees captain Stuart McInally pack down alongside WP Nel and Pierre Schoeman, with Ben Toolis and Grant Gilchrist continuing their partnership in the boiler room.

The aforementioned Watson returns to action at openside flanker, as Hamilton and Jamie Ritchie complete the back-row.

Elsewhere, 23-year-old back-row Magnus Bradbury is once again fit and named among the replacements, whilst summer recruit Juan Pablo Socino is also included on the bench, and if called upon will make his competitive debut for the club.

For Connacht, Ireland international scrum half Kieran Marmion is set to make his first start of the Guinness PRO14 campaign.

The game also marks the return of Bundee Aki who is named on the bench for the Irish province’s first away trip of the season.

Marmion’s return is one of four changes to the Connacht starting side that secured a bonus-point win over Zebre last weekend, with young Sligo prop Conan O’Donnell, lock Ultan Dillane and winger Niyi Adeolokun also included.

21 year old Academy player Paul Boyle is again named at number eight after his two tries and man of the ,atch performance against Zebre. He is part of an unchanged back-row with Captain Jarrad Butler at openside and Sean O’Brien at blindside.

Adeolokun’s inclusion on the wing sees him join a back three that includes Matt Healy on the opposite wing and Tiernan O’Halloran at full-back. The centre pairing of Eoin Griffin and Kyle Godwin is also retained with Aki set to feature off the bench.

The teams:

Edinburgh: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Dougie Fife, 13 James Johnstone, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Luke Hamilton, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Ben Toolis, 3 WP Nel, 2 Stuart McInally (c), 1 Pierre Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Ross Ford, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Fraser McKenzie, 20 Magnus Bradbury, 21 Sean Kennedy, 22 Jaco van der Walt, 23 Juan Pablo Socino

Connacht: 15 Tiernan O’Halloran, 14 Niyi Adeolokun,13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Paul Boyle, 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Sean O’Brien, 5 Ultan Dillane, 4 Gavin Thornbury, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Dave Heffernan, 1 Conan O’Donnell
Replacements: 16 Shane Delahunt, 17 Peter McCabe, 18 Dominic Robertson-McCoy, 19 James Cannon, 20 Colby Fainga’a, 21 Caolin Blade, 22 Craig Ronaldson, 23 Bundee Aki

Date: Friday, September 14
Venue: Murrayfield
Kick-off: 19:35 BST (18:35 GMT)
Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)
Assistant referees: Craig Evans (Wales), Ian Kenny (Scotland)
Television match official: Neil Paterson (Scotland)

Munster v Ospreys

Munster head coach Johann van Graan has named a strong matchday squad to take on the Ospreys at Irish Independent Park in Cork.

Captain Peter O’Mahony makes his first start of the campaign along with fellow returning international Andrew Conway as Joey Carbery and Tadhg Beirne make their first starts for the Irish province.

Chris Cloete makes a welcome return in the back-row with the flanker out of action since February due to forearm and groin injuries.

There are 11 changes to the side beaten by Glasgow Warriors in Scotstoun last week.

Full-back Mike Haley and wing Darren Sweetnam keep their places with Conway completing the back three.

Dan Goggin comes into the side at inside centre with Sammy Arnold at 13 as Duncan Williams and Carbery form the half-back pairing.

It’s all change in the front five as James Cronin, Rhys Marshall and Stephen Archer come into the front-row.

Darren O’Shea captained Munster A to an opening day Celtic Cup win last week and is rewarded with a place in the second-row alongside first-time starter Beirne.

Arno Botha is the only forward to keep his place in the side and is joined in the back-row by captain O’Mahony and Cloete.

Meanwhile, Ospreys head coach Allen Clarke has rung the changes to his starting line-up for this encounter.

In the back-line, James Hook comes in at full-back, where he replaces Dan Evans, while Tom Williams switches from the left to right wing where he takes over from George North while Luke Morgan will wear the number 11 jersey.

Joe Thomas and Cory Allen replace Scott Williams and Owen Watkin as the midfield pairing while Tom Habberfield comes in at scrum-half and he will form a halfback combination with Sam Davies.

In the forwards, Olly Cracknell will captain the side from the the blindside flank, where he takes over from Dan Lydiate. Cracknell is joined in the back-row by Morgan Morris (number eight) and Sam Cross (openside flank) and they come in for James King and regular skipper Justin Tipuric respectively.

Adam Beard and Giorgi Nemsadze pack down in the second-row while Scott Baldwin replaces Scott Otten at hooker while Tom Botha and Rhodri Jones are the starting props.

Meanwhile, Ospreys head coach Allen Clarke has rung the changes to his starting line-up for this encounter.

In the back-line, James Hook comes in at full-back, where he replaces Dan Evans, while Tom Williams switches from the left to right wing where he takes over from George North while Luke Morgan will wear the number 11 jersey.

Joe Thomas and Cory Allen replace Scott Williams and Owen Watkin as the midfield pairing while Tom Habberfield comes in at scrum-half and he will form a halfback combination with Sam Davies.

In the forwards, Olly Cracknell will captain the side from the the blindside flank, where he takes over from Dan Lydiate. Cracknell is joined in the back-row by Morgan Morris (number eight) and Sam Cross (openside flank) and they come in for James King and regular skipper Justin Tipuric respectively.

Adam Beard and Giorgi Nemsadze pack down in the second-row while Scott Baldwin replaces Scott Otten at hooker while Tom Botha and Rhodri Jones are the starting props.

The teams:

Munster: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Sammy Arnold, 12 Dan Goggin, 11 Darren Sweetnam, 10 Joey Carbery, 9 Duncan Williams, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Chris Cloete, 6 Peter O’Mahony (c), 5 Darren O’Shea, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 James Cronin
Replacements:
16 Mike Sherry, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 John Ryan, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Tommy O’Donnell, 21 James Hart, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 Jaco Taute

Ospreys: 15 James Hook, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Joe Thomas, 12 Cory Allen, 11 Luke Morgan, 10 Sam Davies, 9 Tom Habberfield, 8 Morgan Morris, 7 Sam Cross, 6 Olly Cracknell (c), 5 Adam Beard, 4 Giorgi Nemsadze, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Rhodri Jones
Replacements:
16 Nicky Smith, 17 Ifan Phillips, 18 Alex Jeffries, 19 James Ratti, 20 Guido Volpi, 21 Matthew Aubrey, 22 Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler, 23 Hanno Dirksen

Date: Friday, September 14
Venue: Irish Independent Park
Kick-off: 19:35 BST (18:35 GMT)
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Sean Gallagher (Ireland), Paul Haycock (Ireland)
Television match official: Simon McDowell (Ireland)