Charlie Savala makes his Edinburgh debut tonight against Cardiff, five months after signing from Australian rugby league side Sydney Roosters.

The 20-year-old, who takes the place of the injured Nathan Chamberlain, has had to wait patiently for his chance, but head coach Richard Cockerill is confident he is ready to take it.

“Nathan was really good last week and we would have loved him to back that up, but he hurt his ankle in the game and he’s not quite recovered,” Cockerill said yesterday. “So Charlie gets his opportunity and he’s been training hard. He had 40 minutes of the second-team game [against Glasgow] a few weeks ago. He’s been looking forward to getting his opportunity and he gets it tomorrow night.”

Last night Cockerill was waiting to find out if Jaco van der Walt is to be released by Scotland from their squad to face France on Friday night. If freed, Van der Walt would go on the bench for the PRO14 Conference B game. If not, the coach would name a back-three player among the subs, and have Blair Kinghorn - who starts on the right wing - as on-field back-up at 10.

“Charlie has done all the work and he deserves the opportunity to start,” Cockerill added. “Jaco has been away. It’s not a perfect scenario. We’ll just see - I’m not sure that we’ll get him.”

Savala and Kinghorn, for whom this will be the first match back after more than a month out with a wrist injury, are the only two changes to the backs from the team that claimed an impressive win in Connacht to keep their hopes of a top-three finish alive. There are two in the pack as well, with Boan Venter coming in at loosehead for a first start in place of the injured Pierre Schoeman, and flanker Mesu Kunavula replacing Ally Miller.