Sean Everitt believes consistency in selection can be key to Edinburgh achieving their goals for the rest of the season after resisting the urge to make wholesale changes for their return to South Africa.

The Edinburgh head coach has made just one change to the side that defeated Bayonne at Scottish Gas Murrayfield last weekend, with Pierre Schoeman returning from injury in place of Luan de Bruin in the front row.

It’s the second time in a matter of weeks that Edinburgh have made the long journey to South Africa and with key URC games coming up in their bid to finish in the playoffs, it’s an important time of the season for Edinburgh.

Everitt is confident in his side getting the result they want to reach the EPCR Challenge Cup semi-final when they take on his old side Sharks in Durban on Saturday afternoon.

Often weather conditions in South Africa can have an effect on visiting teams from Europe but Edinburgh are already adjusted to the climate having spent two weeks there recently, and the weather isn’t as humid in April as it is at other times of the year.

It means Edinburgh could go as strong as they wanted for the game and although it did cross his mind, Everitt wanted to ensure they had as good a team as possible on the pitch.

Scotland Rugby News: Sean Everitt

He said: “It’s something that we spoke about. I think if you look at our team, we haven't been able to select the same team every week, this is the closest we’ve been able to get to.

“We believe we can win the EPCR and we believe that we can get into the top eight of the URC. So for me, it wasn’t about resting players, it’s an opportunity to do as best as we can. 

“The travel this week has been easy for us. We flew out overnight on Tuesday, arrived here on Wednesday morning and we’ve had an uninterrupted training week. 

“For us, it’s about trying to do as best as we can with what we have. In saying that, we’ve left some good players at home. Ben Muncaster, Connor Boyle and Tom Dodd have been good for Edinburgh and we could see some changes when we get back.

“I think it’s important we build a bit of continuity with regards to selection. The selection speaks for itself, the guys performed well last week against Bayonne. Speaking of which, in the first half we created opportunities and with the two cross kicks if the first one had gone into Jamie’s hands and the second one hadn’t bounced over Duhan’s head we would have been more comfortable in that game.

“It’s great to build on the continuity from that game and from a performance point of view, we’d like to build on the 40 minutes in the second half.”

Schoeman starts at loose head with WP Nel keeping his place at tight head, while Ewan Ashman completes the front row at hooker.

Scotland Rugby News: Edinburgh prop Pierre Schoeman

Sam Skinner joins co-captain Grant Gilchrist in the second row, with the latter becoming the fourth Edinburgh player to play 200 games for the club. It’s the same three in the back row too with Bill Mata flanked by Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson.

There’s also no changes in the backs with Ben Healy and Ben Vellacott keeping their half back partnership while Matt Currie and Mark Bennett combine in midfield once more. Jake Henry makes his fourth start in a row alongside Wes Goosen and Duhan van der Merwe to round off the team.

There’s also only one change on the bench as Boan Venter returns from injury and he’s joined by Dave Cherry, D’Arcy Rae, Jamie Hodgson and Luke Crosbie to cover the forwards while Ali Price, James Lang and Chris Dean are the replacement backs.

Schoeman’s return is a big boost after he missed last weekend’s win with concussion and Everitt is confident he can play an important role in any success they have.

He added: “Apart from world class rugby playing ability, he brings leadership to the team and confidence when he’s there. We know he’s proud to wear the Edinburgh jersey and with us facing a world class front row, Pierre is vitally important.

“The team will take confidence out of Pierre and I’m sure he’ll lead from the front.”

With Gilchrist making his 200th appearance, Everitt is praying that Edinburgh can get the result he wants to make the occasion.

The 33-year-old made his debut in 2011 and has been a key player for club and country ever since. Everitt wants success to come for him but he admits victory over Sharks would be the best of his tenure so far given the difficulty of winning in South Africa.

Scotland Rugby News: Grant Gilchrist

He continued: “With the significance of the game being an EPCR knockout game then definitely. The fact is if we win tomorrow and Ulster beat Clermont away then we get a home semi-final at Hive. The team is confident we can turn the Sharks over tomorrow. We wouldn’t be bringing our best team if we didn’t believe that was the case so we’re confident of doing that this weekend.

“It’s a great day for Grant. Like I said earlier in the week, he’s deserving of all the accolades he gets. He’s a great leader of the team and wears the Edinburgh badge in his heart and on his sleeve every time he plays for the club.

“He brought good leadership last week and it led to a good performance on Saturday and we expect no less from him this time. With his experience and having 200 games under his belt will be great for the team, I hope they can give him the result he thoroughly deserves on his 200th game.”

Edinburgh team to face Sharks: W Goosens, J Henry, M Bennett, M Currie, D Van der Merwe, B Healy, B Vellacott, P Schoeman, E Ashman, WP Nel, S Skinner, G Gilchrist, J Ritchie, H Watson, V Mata

Replacements: D Cherry, B Venter, D Rae, J Hodgson, L Crosbie, A Price, J Lang, C Dean