Phil has named a new look squad for the return leg of the Italian-Scottish Challenge which takes place at Goldenacre on Saturday (KO 14:15).
We will host Italy Emerging following our 50-33 away defeat to the team, made up of players from Italy’s domestic competition, the National Championship, Eccellenza.
There are nine changes to the starting XV who played against Italy Emerging at Stadio “Lamarmaro” last weekend in an attempt to give as many players as possible the opportunity to gain experience of cross-border competition.
Michael Liness is one of three new faces in the starting pack with the hooker promoted from the bench and named as captain alongside Gavin Cameron and Ruaridh Mitchell in the front-row.
Scotland international and Glasgow Warriors flanker Chris Fusaro will run out for the first time this season at open-side for Heriot’s and packs down alongside the retained Michael Maltman and Struan Dewar.
Callum Marshall starts in the second-row as a new partner for Clarke Smith, who was involved in the away fixture to the Italian side.
In the backs, Gavin Parker comes in for Charlie Simpson at full-back as Simpson moves to the bench.
There is a new midfield partnership in the form of Robbie Mulvena and Donald Crawford with the pair slotting in at outside and inside centre respectively.
Ewan Fox and Tom Wilson take the reins from Alex Hagart and Andrew Simmers in the half-back positions, Fox will pull the strings at out-half and Wilson is set to control the base from scrum-half.
Josh Laird will make his first appearance in the Italian-Scottish Challenge on the left wing, while John Rae, who scored a try in the first leg, keeps his shirt on the right.
Martin Bouab remains on the bench and is joined by a host of replacements who are in line to gain their first experience of competing against the Italians.
After a fantastic experience last weekend, where we took 15 minutes to find our feet, the squad is rotated in an effort to give players an opportunity against Italian opposition. The back division has a youthful look to it, however the players have been told that this is an opportunity to stake their claim for the second half of the season. The pack has a more familiar look, with the addition of former Heriot’s player Chris Fusaro, while the bench is geared to provide some of our younger players with an opportunity to shine. We have a sold out Ladies’ Lunch at the club and a chance to reciprocate the hosting we experienced last weekend while watching Scotland take on Argentina on the big screen.