Edinburgh head coach Sean Everitt believes tomorrow’s vital URC clash with his former side Sharks to be won and lost up front.  

After a thumping defeat to Stormers, Everitt has recalled four of his Scotland internationals with Duhan van der Merwe, Pierre Schoeman, Ewan Ashman and Jamie Ritchie all returning to the starting line-up.  

They join Sam Skinner and Ben Healy, who played in Cape Town last weekend, in an experienced side.  

Everitt said reintroducing the Scotland contingent – minus Grant Gilchrist, missing for personal reasons; and Ali Price, who became a father this week – was a straightforward decision 

He said: “It was always our plan to play them in the second game, giving them a rest after the Six Nations.  

“It was a straightforward selection this week and everyone understands the challenge that awaits them tomorrow.” 

READ MORE: Edinburgh lock Jamie Hodgson relishing Eben Etzebeth battle

Edinburgh were the first European team to win in South Africa in the URC when they toppled Sharks two years ago.  

Everitt was the man in charge of the home side that day and he believes his current charges can take plenty of encouragement from that result.  

“I think it’s extremely relevant as it gives you confidence from having won here before.

"They’ve been taking the mickey out of me for the last six months since I came to Edinburgh for that win at Kings Park - the team is really proud of what they achieved.

"The Sharks fielded an almost Springboks team that day and they were able to overturn that.

"For me that gives the team belief and they’re desperate to get another result.” 

Having been Sharks head coach for three years, and involved with the wider union for about 15 years, Everitt is better placed than many to analyse the threats of the South African side.  

“The Sharks are a team who like the ball in hand approach,” he added. 

“They have an electrifying back-three. I see they’ve brought Wermer Kok back, with Makazole Mapimpi and Aphelele Fassi. I know them well. They are good counter-attackers. 

Scotland Rugby News: South Africa wing Makazole Mapimpi starts for Sharks against EdinburghSouth Africa wing Makazole Mapimpi starts for Sharks against Edinburgh (Image: SNS)

“They’ve got a very strong set-piece, which is what they pride themselves on, and what pretty much put them over the line against Ulster last week. 

“Saying that, we’re very proud of the internationals in our group. We’ve got an all-Scotland international front-row and second row starting tomorrow, so I think it will be a battle of the tight fives.  

“They will believe that they can get ascendancy up front, in the scrums and mauls to build pressure and cause us to give away penalties.  

“The major challenge for us will be to sustain that pressure, but at the same time we want to play rugby, we want to score tries and get a result as well.” 

The Edinburgh side features six players with more than 100 appearances, as well as a wealth of international experience.  

Everitt believes that will stand them in good stead for facing a Sharks side that includes four of the Springboks World Cup-winning tight five, plus former World Player of the Year nominee Lukhanyo Am, who captains the home side.  

“Guys like Pierre Schoeman and WP Nel have conquered many opposition front-rows, and in the competition we are playing in right now, they have been dominant in most of the games we have played. 

"For them it will be a massive challenge – an international challenge – but nothing that they’re not used to, so we’re thankful that we have that experience up front.” 

It was confirmed this week that club stalwart Nel will hang up his boots at the end of the season.  

READ MORE: Edinburgh and Scotland prop WP Nel to retire at end of season

Everitt insists the 37-year-old South African, never one to look for the limelight during his 12 years in Scotland, is in good spirits ahead of his final appearance in the land of his birth.  

The Edinburgh boss added: “I don’t think it has changed much in terms of how he feels about the team.  

“He’s a very proud Edinburgh boy and he’ll want to finish his career on a high, so he is keen to get on the park and show what he’s worth.” 

After leaving Cape Town empty-handed last weekend, Everitt knows taking something from this match is a must if Edinburgh are to maintain their quest for a play-off place.  

“It’s very important for us,” he said.  

“I know there’s a URC break [after this one] and you look at the log points and the other teams did us a favour last weekend.  

“Our destiny is still in our own hands and we’ve got to make the most of this opportunity to try to get as many points as we can.” 

Edinburgh team vs Sharks: Wes Goosen, Jake Henry, Matt Currie, Chris Dean, Duhan van der Merwe, Ben Healy, Ben Vellacott (captain); Pierre Schoeman, Ewan Ashman, WP Nel, Jamie Hodgson, Sam Skinner, Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Viliame Mata

Replacements: Dave Cherry, Boan Venter, Javan Sebastian, Marshall Sykes, Connor Boyle, Charlie Shiel, Cammy Scott, James Lang

Sharks team: Aphelele Fassi, Werner Kok, Lukhanyo Am (c), Francois Venter, Makazole Mapimpi, Siya Masuka, Jaden Hendrikse; Ox Nche, Bongi Mbonambi, Vincent Koch, Eben Etzebeth, Emile van Heerden, James Venter, Vincent Tshituka, Phepsi Buthelezi

Replacements: Dan Jooste, Ntuthuko Mchunu, Hanro Jacobs, Corne Rahl, Lappies Labuschagne, Cameron Wright, Curwin Bosch, Ethan Hooker