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Mark Bennett is relishing the chance to properly go up against former club Glasgow after kick-starting his Edinburgh career. Bennett endured an injury-blighted first two years in the capital after making the move along the M8 but has built up some momentum this season with five tries to his name.
Now he is looking to take his form into this PRO14 clash, the first of two consecutive meetings between the Scottish teams. “I really wanted to be involved in them and the only times I have been in the last couple of years is off the bench,” the 26-year-old said.
“I have not really had a fair crack at the whip. Hopefully this weekend we will go out there and get to go at them. The atmosphere is always good and it’s always funny playing against people you know, and know well. I have some real good friends over in Glasgow that I am looking forward to taking on and having a bit of craic with as well.
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“It’s a massive derby game and it’s really exciting, especially for me playing against my old club, so it’s something I am really looking forward to. But I have got to keep a level head. It’s another game of rugby. We really want the points in the league.”
Bennett is also pushing thoughts of a Scotland recall to one side. Nominated for the World Rugby breakthrough award after the 2015 World Cup, Bennett has not featured in the past two Six Nations and missed out on the Japan World Cup.
His form is sure to have alerted Gregor Townsend but he is not focusing on ending his 18-month international exile. Bennett said: “I have played more rugby this season than the last two put together so I am just enjoying myself and taking each week as it comes.
‘We need to have another 20, 30 players that are playing at a high level’
– @15GavinHastings tells @heagneyl what is needed to help @Scotlandteam, his pride in @adamhastings96 and @GlasgowWarriors, and his support for old pals @DoddieWeir5 and Tom Smithhttps://t.co/Z2bYF21t2M
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) December 14, 2019
“It’s getting there. It’s weird backing it up week by week, it’s something I have not done. My body has been sore during the week but I am really enjoying myself. We are wanting to play a bit more and get more hands on ball so I can show what I am capable of and it’s been really enjoyable.”
Coach Richard Cockerill said: “If we get it right, we can beat any team on its day which we are slowly doing and proving.
“We’re going there to perform and try and take the points because that’s what we want and we want to beat our local rivals because rivalry is good. That little bit of tribalism is good and I want us to go there and show what a good team we are.”
"Getting both knees done at 18… I’m a winger; I’m thinking, where’s my speed going to go?"
In South Africa, Duhan van der Merwe had lost his way. Edinburgh helped him find it again.
His first Scotland caps could come against the Springboks. Interview?https://t.co/9bzwbvetNG
— Jamie Lyall (@JLyall93) December 6, 2019
Beaten by La Rochelle last weekend in Europe, Glasgow have chosen a matchday squad containing 17 internationals and have nine players who started April’s 34-10 victory over the capital outfit. Coach Dave Rennie said: “I’d expect to see a little bit of desperation in how the players perform.
“Edinburgh are a tough side with a good kicking game, so we need to be able to deal with that. It’ll be an arm wrestle and we shouldn’t be lacking motivation.
“We’ve been away from home in this fixture in the last few years, so it will be nice to play in front of our family and friends ahead of Christmas this season. We are looking for a performance that reflects the importance of the occasion.”
GLASGOW: 15. Ruaridh Jackson; 14. Tommy Seymour, 13. Huw Jones, 12. Sam Johnson, 11. Kyle Steyn; 10. Adam Hastings, 9. George Horne; 1. Aki Seiuli, 2. Fraser Brown, 3. Zander Fagerson, 4. Scott Cummings, 5. Jonny Gray, 6. Rob Harley, 7. Callum Gibbins (capt), 8. Ryan Wilson. Reps: 16. George Turner, 17. Oli Kebble, 18. Adam Nicol, 19. Adam Ashe, 20. Tom Gordon, 21. Ali Price, 22. Nick Grigg, 23. Niko Matawalu.
EDINBURGH: 15. Blair Kinghorn; 14. Darcy Graham, 13. Mark Bennett, 12. George Taylor, 11. Duhan van der Merwe; 10. Simon Hickey, 9. Henry Pyrgos; 1. Pierre Schoeman, 2. Stuart McInally (capt), 3. Pietro Ceccarelli, 4. Ben Toolis, 5. Grant Gilchrist, 6. Magnus Bradbury, 7. Hamish Watson, 8. Viliame Mata. Reps: 16. Mike Willemse, 17. Jamie Bhatti, 18 Simon Berghan, 19. Lewis Carmichael, 20. Jamie Ritchie, 21. Nic Groom, 22. Jaco van der Walt, 23. James Johnstone.
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