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Cornell du Preez

Cornell du Preez

Head Coach Vern Cotter has made one change to the starting Scotland side to face England at Twickenham Stadium this Saturday in the RBS 6 Nations (kick-off 4pm UK time, 6pm SA time).

Edinburgh Rugby back-row Hamish Watson returns to the front-line having started the opening two rounds of the Championship. He takes the place of the injured John Hardie (knee), whom he replaced in the 25th minute of the last round’s win over Wales.

Uncapped clubmate Cornell Du Preez takes Watson’s vacated place on the bench and will make his debut if called upon.

The Scots are seeking a first win in English headquarters since 1983 and a first Triple Crown since 1990, while England aim to equal New Zealand’s record of 18-straight Test wins for a tier-one nation.

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Cornell du Preez gets Scotland call up

Head Coach Vern Cotter today named a 37-man Scotland squad for the forthcoming RBS 6 Nations Championship.

Among the group is 37-times capped Gloucester centre Matt Scott who – after missing out on selection in the autumn – has earned a recall thanks to a number of impressive performances for the Kingsholm club, scoring 12 tries in 18 games this season.

Cotter has also named uncapped Edinburgh Rugby forwards Simon Berghan (prop) and Cornell Du Preez (back-row).

Du Preez (25) is a popular figure in the capital, scoring 14 tries in 71 appearances. He became eligible to represent Scotland last year after completing three years of residency in the country.

Berghan (26) joined Edinburgh Rugby in 2013 and is eligible to represent Scotland through his grandfather, Andrew Davidson, from Stirling. The 20st, 6’3” prop has made 24 appearances for the capital club.

Berghan and returning Newcastle Falcons’ tighthead Jon Welsh are among the seven props named in the squad, with the national team awaiting the results of a scan this evening (Wednesday) that will confirm the availability of Edinburgh Rugby’s Willem Nel, who injured his neck in the club’s European Challenge Cup win over Harlequins on Saturday (14 January).

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Edinburgh Rugby Acting Head Coach Duncan Hodge has made eight changes to his starting side to face Stade Francais in the second of back-to-back European Challenge cup fixture against the Parisian outfit tonight (Thursday) at Stade Jean Bouin (kick-off 8.45pm local).

The majority of changes come in the pack where five players come in to start following Saturday’s round four 28-23 defeat of the French side.

In the front-row Simon Berghan and Ross Ford – who will captain the side – are promoted from the bench to start, while Fraser McKenzie is named in the pack in place of Grant Gilchrist.

Nasi Manu is set to don the number eight shirt while Cornell Du Preez packs down on the blindside flank.

Tom Brown returns from a groin injury to start on the wing in the only change to the back-three, with Chris Dean coming in at inside centre and Jason Tovey given the nod at stand-off.

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Cornell du Preez

Cornell du Preez in action against Glasgow Warriors

Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons insists the fact Cornell du Preez is prepared to play through the pain barrier shows how special a player he is.

The loose forward is in line for his 50th appearance for the Scottish side when he runs out against Benetton Treviso in the Guinness PRO12 tonight (Friday night).

The South African-born forward joined the club ahead of the 2013 / 2014 season and has racked up 37 league appearances since.

He missed most of last season, however, due to an ankle injury but has appeared in all of Edinburgh’s Guinness PRO12 games this campaign, helping the club to 4th in the table.

However, Solomons admitted his player is still overcoming the after effects of that injury.

“Cornell has made a massive contribution to Edinburgh,” he said.

“There are not many people who would have had the ankle injury he has had and come back to play like he has.

“He is going to play in pain for a while. He trains and plays and has a bit of pain there, obviously. It is the kind of injury that will take 18 months to clear up. He is a class rugby player.”

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EdinburghGlasgow WarriorsEdinburgh head coach Alan Solomons believes that his squad has got through the worst of an injury crisis which threatened to engulf the team just a few short weeks ago.

Edinburgh flew to Milan ­yesterday then took a 75-mile bus ride to Parma, ahead of ­facing Guinness Pro12 strugglers Zebre at the Stadio XXV Aprile tomorrow afternoon.

It may have been an arduous trip but Solomons was in good fettle – despite Edinburgh still being without several leading players, including Grant Gilchrist (broken arm), Hamish Watson (knee) and Cornell du Preez, who is set to miss the rest of the season with a leg injury.

Solomons said that the ­Autumn Tests came at just the right time for other leading players to recover and he is ­excited about his team’s chances of climbing into the top six of the Pro 12 table, which would qualify them for the Champions Cup next season.

Edinburgh returned to action in fine style last Sunday when they defeated Cardiff Blues at home, and they will fancy their chances against a Zebre side which was hammered 43-3 by Connacht on Friday night.

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Glasgow WarriorsEdinburghThis weekend represents the final chance for Gregor Townsend and Alan Solomons, head coaches of Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh Rugby, to test out various combinations in a match situation ahead of the 2014/2015 season which starts in all earnest next weekend. Edinburgh played their pre-season friendly match last night against Newcastle Falcons in Hawick while Glasgow Warriors face London Scottish in London.

In last night’s match the final score was Edinburgh Rugby 21(11)/15 (10) Newcastle Falcons. Alan Solomons was pleased with the win as although it was only a friendly match they had gone into it with the mind-set of it being a competitive one.

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Edinburgh_Rugby_logoEdinburgh Rugby moved up to sixth position on the RaboDirect PRO12 table with their hard fought victory over Leinster (11/6) at a cold, wet and windy Murrayfield on Friday night. This after they have spent much of the PRO12 season languishing near the bottom half of the table. This win followed a good one they achieved the weekend before in their Heineken Cup pool game against Gloucester.

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RaboDirect PRO12 balls 5/8/2011Edinburgh_Rugby_logoEdinburgh Rugby will welcome the return of captain Greig Laidlaw this Sunday as they look to repeat last season’s away success against Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park (6 October, kick-off 3.05pm South African Time).  The 27-year-old scrum-half – who kicked the winning drop-goal on that day last year – has recovered from the knee injury that has kept him side-lined since the summer to make his first competitive outing of the season.

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Cornell du PreezNicolas VergalloTwo more Southern Kings players have decided to make their futures elsewhere, bringing the tally to 10 so far. Cornell du Preez will join Solly (Alan Solomons) in Edinburgh, and Nicolas Vergallo will join French club, Lyon.

The players who have now already left the Southern Kings are: Nicolas Vergallo, Cornell du Preez, Daniel Adongo, Waylon Murray, Bandise Maku, Jacques Engelbrecht, David Bulbring, SP Marais, Wesley Dunlop and Dimetri Catrakilis. Alan Solomons of course has also jumped ship to Edinburgh.

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