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Edinburgh to rest all but 2 Scotland players for first leg of SA tour

By Josh Raisey
Dublin , Ireland - 4 November 2023; Pierre Schoeman of Edinburgh arrives before the United Rugby Championship match between Leinster and Edinburgh at the RDS Arena in Dublin. (Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Edinburgh will have to take on United Rugby Championship giants the Stormers without the bulk of their Scotland internationals in Cape Town on Saturday.

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Of the 30 players taken to South Africa for matches against the Stormers and the Sharks, seven were part of Scotland’s Guinness Six Nations campaign that ended last weekend with a 17-13 loss to Ireland in Dublin.

Speaking ahead of taking on the 2022 URC champions at Cape Town Stadium, Edinburgh boss Sean Everitt revealed that the majority of his Scotland players will not be available for the first match.

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Nigel Owens says the game should be put back into the hands of referees

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Nigel Owens says the game should be put back into the hands of referees

“The majority of our Scotland internationals will be available for the second game,” he said.

“Unfortunately for us not all of them have been released but rightfully so.

“They’ve had a busy Six Nations, one of their closest competitions for many years. They deserve a rest and at Edinburgh we respect the pressures that are on our international players.

“We’ve got a guy like Ewan Ashman who has come out here with us. He is available to play but I understand he’s had a really busy six weeks away from home so he will be resting this week.

“We just want to give them every opportunity to be back on the song for the rest of the season.”

Everitt did reveal that fly-half Ben Healy and lock Sam Skinner will be available for the match, but that rules out Duhan van der Merwe, Grant Gilchrist, Jamie Ritchie, Pierre Schoeman and Ashman- pivotal players for both club and country.

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The absence of so many frontline players only makes the job more difficult for Edinburgh, particularly at a venue that has not historically been a happy hunting ground for visitors.

Though the fourth-place Edinburgh are five places above the Stormers in the URC ladder, they are only separated by four points, meaning the complexion of the table could change drastically by the end of the weekend.

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