Scotland fly-half Jaco Van Der Walt has dropped out of the Edinburgh side through injury. Scotland players David Cherry and Simon Berghan will turn out for Edinburgh in Sunday’s Guinness PRO14 encounter with Benetton at BT Murrayfield.

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But Grant Gilchrist and Darcy Graham will stay with Gregor Townsend’s Six Nations squad and are replaced in the Edinburgh team by fit-again lock Andrew Davidson and winger Jack Blain.

Richard Cockerill has also lost Viliame Mata to injury for the visit of the Italians. Luke Crosbie comes into the back row.

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Half-backs Charlie Shiel and Nathan Chamberlain and centres George Taylor and James Johnstone are also among the players coming into the team.

On the bench, Mesu Kunavula could make his first appearance since playing for Fiji in December while centre Mark Bennett returns from injury.

Edinburgh suffered a major blow to their chances of qualifying for the Heineken Champions Cup when they lost narrowly to Scarlets last time out.

Head coach Cockerill said: “There were a lot of positives to take from our performance against Scarlets last weekend but, unfortunately, there were elements that meant we fell short on the scoreboard at the end.

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“This Sunday is another opportunity to continue those improvements and correct some of the elements that came unstuck. We’ve used the eight-day turnaround between these games well to work on our game plan and execution.

“Benetton are good side that will pose some real physical challenges. They’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain from the foot of the table, which can give teams a renewed sense of confidence and belief, and make them a real threat.

“It’s another opportunity to pull on the Edinburgh shirt and face quality, physical opposition and one we’re looking forward to.”

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