Edinburgh host Zebre in the URC this weekend with Sean Everitt's side chasing a top eight spot for the play-offs. 

Here, Kevin Millar takes a close look at the game.

KO 7.35 at Hive Stadium
Friday 10th May 2024

Live on Premier Sports 1

  • Just 12 weeks have passed since Edinburgh tackled Zebre in Parma. With that game taking place during the Six Nations’ window there are plenty of changes to both teams.
  • There are seven returning starters for the home side with five for the visitors. Overall 22 of the 46 players named in the matchday squads weren’t involved in the Round 10 fixture.
  • At the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi in February, Edinburgh were behind from the 2nd to the 68th minute before a penalty try and a Dave Cherry score pulled them through. This is a very different side though, with only a couple of injuries in the back 3 separating the capital club from their first choice starting XV.
  • Zebre haven’t won a URC fixture outside Italy since they beat the Dragons at Rodney Parade in November 2019. Their only victory in Scotland was back in October 2016 when they defeated Edinburgh 19 – 14 at Murrayfield.
  • The home side are going for their 11th win of the URC campaign. They have only managed more league victories in a season once during the professional era – 15 in 2017/18.


Scotland Rugby News:

(players in CAPITALS are full capped internationals, numbers in brackets are previous appearances for Edinburgh / Zebre)

Head to Head:

Scotland Rugby News:

Edinburgh Introductions:

The home side are rolling out the big guns for this fixture. This will be the first time that any of WP Nel, Grant Gilchrist or Jamie Ritchie have started a home match against Zebre since October 2017.

Until this season – when he has started against them twice – the last time Ali Price turned out against the side from Parma was Glasgow’s away fixture in October 2016 when the scrum half was still to become a capped international.

Duhan van der Merwe has only played two previous games against the stripey Italians and has yet to score a try against them – something he will no doubt be keen to remedy on Friday evening!

Matchday Milestones:

Pierre Schoeman will be looking to score in a fourth consecutive match after crossing against the Sharks, Scarlets and Cardiff. The hirsute prop has six tries in his last ten games for Edinburgh and Scotland.

He’s not the only big man who likes a score though – the capital club’s looseheads and tightheads have combined for 13 tries during 2023/24 (including scoring in seven of Edinburgh’s last nine games). This is the third season in a row the props have managed 10 or more five-pointers.

Focal Point:

Edinburgh’s back 3 players collectively have missed 77 matches so far this season. With the likes of Darcy Graham and Emiliano Boffelli only able to make a peripheral contribution it needed others to step up.

Key to filling one of those gaps has been Wes Goosen. The former Hurricane contributed solidly enough during his debut campaign in 2022/23 but must now be one of the first names on the teamsheet given his current form.

The Kiwi is an extremely elusive runner who currently sits second equal for defenders beaten in the URC on 41, one behind his colleague, Duhan van der Merwe.

In fact, all of the league’s top four for this stat play for Scottish sides with Glasgow’s Josh McKay joining Goosen in second with Stafford McDowall just behind.

It’s telling that this indicates that Edinburgh have the attacking potential but maybe haven’t quite earned the reward they deserve in terms of bonus points – ending up with three tries scored on six occasions hasn’t helped.

Getting the likes of Goosen more involved should allow the capital club to crack their try BP issue. This is the kind of game where the full back could really tear it up, against a Zebre defence that is stuffy and aggressive in close but struggles to contain sides who can create space out wide.

League form:

Scotland Rugby News:

Track record…

…at home to Zebre in the PRO12/PRO14/URC era:

  • 8 wins
  • 1 loss
  • 5 Try BPs
  • 1 Losing BP
  • 38 points out of a possible 45 (84%)
  • Edinburgh also defeated Zebre in the Rainbow Cup during this period (no TBP).

Previous match-up v Zebre at home:


Referee: Ben Breakspear (WRU, league debut)
AR1: Ru Campbell (SRU)
AR2: David Sutherland (SRU)
TMO: Ian Davies (WRU)

With the youthful Mr Breakspear (12 years younger than WP Nel!) making his first ever appearance in the URC, there won’t be much data to go on for either side. From Edinburgh’s point of view though, if ever there was a game where the referee should not be a factor it’s this one.

If they put in the kind of performance they are capable of – with the prospect of propelling themselves up the league table as a reward – then it won’t matter how inexperienced the Welsh whistler is or what approach he takes to the game.

Additional ref stats from: https://www.cardiffrfcfans.com/analysis/referee_heads.php?countryID=1