Youngster Cairns to lead Edinburgh
February 26, 2008

Edinburgh head coach Andy Robinson praised the contribution made by centre Ben Cairns and then rewarded the 22-year-old by handing him the captain's armband for the club's Magners League match at Newport Gwent Dragons on Friday evening.

Despite being the youngest member of Edinburgh's back division, Cairns has already played a hugely influential role in the team's climb up the Magners League table; starting in all but one match so far this season.

As a result, Robinson believes the former Currie player, who scored a try in Scotland A's demolition of Ireland on Friday, deserved the chance to lead out the team at Rodney Parade.

Robinson said: "I think he is one for the future and he has really done well so far this season; both for Edinburgh and for Scotland A."

Cairns admits he was thrilled by the news and says it is another highlight in what has proved to be a breakthrough season in the early stages of his promising career.

Cairns said: "Obviously it is a massive honour for me to captain the team. I've not had the chance to do it before, so it is something I am really looking forward to.

"Given the way the season has gone; both personally and for the team, it is another highlight and being given the captaincy is a really pleasant surprise."

Meanwhile, Scotland internationalists Nick De Luca, David Callam and Ross Rennie all return to the starting line-up following involvement in the RBS 6 Nations tournament.

Back rower Callam missed Scotland A's match because of problems with his shoulder and neck, but has since returned to full fitness while Rennie made his international bow as a replacement against Ireland at Croke Park last weekend.

Robinson admits he was pleased to reintroduce the players into an Edinburgh side searching for a second successive win in Wales after defeating Cardiff at the Arm's Park at the start of the year.

He said: "It is good for us to be able to welcome back our international players and I would like to congratulate Ross Rennie on making his international debut for Scotland.

"It is important we put a strong performance in this weekend against a very talented Dragons side."

Mike Blair, Allister Hogg, Simon Webster, Allan Jacobsen, Ross Ford and Hugo Southwell are the six Scotland internationalists rested for the trip to Newport.

As a result, scrum-half Ben Meyer, flanker Alan MacDonald, winger Roland Reid, prop Augusto Allori, hooker Andrew Kelly and full-back Calum MacRae are all handed starting berths in a new-look Edinburgh team.

In the second row, Ben Gissing returns to competitive action after missing his first match of the season when a calf injury ruled him out of the defeat at the hands of Munster.

Up front, prop Craig Smith starts while Scotland front rower Gavin Kerr named amongst the replacements.

Edinburgh Rugby Club squad to play Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade (Friday 29 February, kick-off 7.10pm)

15 Calum MacRae

14 Andrew Turnbull
13 Ben Cairns (captain)
12 Nick De Luca
11 Roland Reid

10 Phil Godman
9 Ben Meyer

1 Augusto Allori
2 Andrew Kelly
3 Craig Smith
4 Matt Mustchin
5 Ben Gissing
6 Alan MacDonald
7 Ross Rennie
8 David Callam

Substitutes: Steve Lawrie, Gavin Kerr, Craig Hamilton, Simon Cross, Greig Laidlaw, John Houston, Matt Dey.


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