PRO14 Preview: Friday
There’s three games scheduled in the PRO14 on Friday as Edinburgh play host to the Cheetahs, Glasgow face Zebre and Ulster take on Connacht.
Edinburgh vs Cheetahs
Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill has made four changes ahead of their PRO14 clash with the Cheetahs at Murrayfield.
As Edinburgh look to secure their fifth consecutive home victory in all competitions, three players are rotated into the backline. James Johnstone and Juan Pablo Socino are named in the midfield, while winger Darcy Graham makes his first start since featuring against Leinster in February.
Cockerill makes just one change to the pack as Rory Sutherland gets his first start of the season at loosehead prop.
After crossing the whitewash against Benetton a week ago, Blair Kinghorn is named at full-back, with Duhan van der Merwe – a try-scorer in his last four appearances at BT Murrayfield – and Graham selected on the flanks.
Johnstone and summer recruit Socino get the nod in midfield, while Henry Pyrgos and Kiwi fly-half Simon Hickey continue at half-back.
Up front, hooker Stuart McInally skippers the side and packs down alongside WP Nel and Sutherland.
Experienced locks Grant Gilchrist and Ben Toolis are named in the boiler room, while Magnus Bradbury, Hamish Watson and Fijian international Bill Mata complete the back-row.
Meanwhile, Niell Jordaan will take to the field for the 50th time in a Cheetahs jersey when they face Edinburgh.
He replaces Gerhard Olivier at flanker, who has returned home for the birth of his first child, while Stephan Malan lines up alongside Jordaan at number eight.
Elsewhere in the pack, Jacques du Toit starts at hooker, with Walt Steenkamp and Justin Basson switching places at lock.
Behind the scrum, Louis Fouche is at full-back, with Ryno Eksteen dropping out of the squad due to a knee injury.
On the bench, Abongile Nonkontwana will make his PRO14 debut should he come on and Ali Mgijima also provides cover in the backline.
Edinburgh:15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 James Johnstone, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Bill Mata, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Magnus Bradbury, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Ben Toolis, 3 WP Nel, 2 Stuart McInally (c), 1 Rory Sutherland
Replacements: 16 Ross Ford, 17 Murray McCallum, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Luke Hamilton, 20 Jamie Ritchie, 21 Sean Kennedy, 22 Jaco van der Walt, 23 Chris Dean
Cheetahs:15 Louis Fouche, 14 William Small-Smith, 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Nico Lee, 11 Rabz Maxwane, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Stephan Malan, 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Niell Jordaan, 5 JP du Preez, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 OX Nche
Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Günther Janse van Vuuren, 19 Walt Steenkamp, 20 Daniel Maartens, 21 Abongile Nonkontwana, 22 Shaun Venter, 23 Ali Mgijima
Kick-off: 19:35 BST (18:35 BST)
Referee: Marius Mitrea
Assistant referees: Manuel Bottino (Italy), Ian Kenny (Scotland)
Television match official: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland)
Glasgow Warriors vs Zebre
Head coach Dave Rennie has named Jonny Gray as Glasgow Warriors’ captain for this fixture at Scotstoun.
The 24-year-old is joined in the second-row by Andrew Davidson who made his debut off the bench against Dragons last weekend.
Adam Nicol starts a Glasgow Warriors game for the first time and is joined in the front-row by George Turner and Oli Kebble.
Adam Ashe starts on the blindside flank as Matt Fagerson retains his spot at the back of the scrum. Chris Fusaro completes the back-row.
Rory Hughes plays his first game of the season, joining Lee Jones who scored a brace of tries against the Dragons on the wing. Ruaridh Jackson keeps his place at full-back.
Alex Dunbar and Huw Jones continue their partnership in midfield, both crossing the whitewash last weekend.
Inside of them Adam Hastings once again starts at 10 and is joined at scrum-half by George Horne.
On the bench USA international Tevita Tameilau is in line to make his Glasgow Warriors debut and hooker Grant Stewart is involved in a matchday 23 for the first time this season.
Meanwhile, Zebre head coach Michael Bradley has rung the changes to his starting line-up which lost to the Ospreys last weekend.
There are 10 alterations in all including a couple of positional switches. In the backline, rookie win Paula Balekana comes into the run-on side on the left wing with Gabriele Di Giulio switching over to the other flank where he replaces Mattia Bellini.
In midfield, Tommaso Boni moves from outside to inside centre, where he comes in from Tommaso Castello, while Giulio Bisegni will wear the number 13 jersey.
There’s a new half-back pairing with Francois Brummer and Marcello Violi taking over from Carlo Canna and Guglielmo Palazzani at fly-half and scrum-half respectively.
In the forwards, Jimmy Tuivaiti shifts from the blindside flank to number eight where he comes in for Giovanni Licata. Apisai Tauyavuca takes Tuivaiti’s spot on the side of the scrum while Johan Meyer remains on the other flank.
George Biagi returns to captain the side from lock and he packs down with Leonard Krumov.
Meanwhile, there are a couple of changes in the front-row where Eduardo Bello and Cruze Ah-Nau are preferred to Dario Chistolini and Andrea Lovotti as the starting props.
Glasgow:15 Ruaridh Jackson, 14 Lee Jones, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Rory Hughes, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 George Horne, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Adam Ashe, 5 Jonny Gray (c), 4 Andrew Davidson, 3 Adam Nicol, 2 George Turner, 1 Oli Kebble
Replacements:16 Grant Stewart, 17 Alex Allan, 18 D’Arcy Rae, 19 Greg Peterson, 20 Matt Smith, 21 Tevita Tameilau, 22 Pete Horne, 23 Niko Matawalu
Zebre:15 Edoardo Padovani, 14 Gabriele Di Giulio, 13 Giulio Bisegni, 12 Tommaso Boni, 11 Paula Balekana, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Marcello Violi, 8 Jimmy Tuivaiti, 7 Johan Meyer, 6 Apisai Tauyavuca, 5 George Biagi (c), 4 Leonard Krumov, 3 Eduardo Bello, 2 Oliviero Fabiani, 1 Cruze Ah-Nau
Replacements:16 Massimo Ceciliani, 17 Daniele Rimpelli, 18 Roberto Tenga, 19 Samuele Ortis, 20 Giosué Zilocchi, 21 Riccardo Raffaele, 22 Maicol Azzolini, 23 Giovanbattista Venditti
Venue: Scotstoun Stadium
Kick-off: 19:35 BST (18:35 BST)
Referee: Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Lloyd Linton (Scotland), Hollie Davidson (Scotland)
Television match official: Charles Samson (Scotland)