Edinburgh Rugby were today boosted by the return of eight international players from the Rugby World Cup ahead of the side’s match against European champions Leinster at Murrayfield a week on Friday (28 October, kick-off 7.35pm).
With seven players on Scotland duty and one with the Fiji squad, the capital club welcomes the return of three backs and five forwards sharing over 300 caps.
Among the internationalists are Scotland’s most capped player and record point’s scorer, Chris Paterson, British & Irish Lions scrum-half Mike Blair, and the complete front-row that started the nation’s matches against Romania and Argentina: Allan Jacobsen, Geoff Cross and British & Irish Lions hooker Ross Ford, who reached a half century of caps during the championship.
Speaking after today’s training session, Edinburgh Rugby head coach Michael Bradley, paid tribute to the young players who have stepped up to the mark in the black and red jersey before welcoming the returning internationalists.
He said: “During the World Cup a lot of our young players had a lot of game time and they’ll park that experience and learn from it. It’s important for the coaches to see how these players handle pressured environments and, by and large, all of them came through very well, which is very good for Edinburgh Rugby going forward.
“We’re now moving into a very exciting second period of the season and we’ve welcomed the national team boys back into the squad. They’re experienced, quality, international players so we expect them to take leadership roles in the squad – that will be one of their challenges in the next two RaboDirect PRO12 matches leading into the Heineken Cup.
“Our first match is at home against Leinster and the World Cup players will undoubtedly come into contention for selection as we can’t ignore their quality but these next two weeks will be a test for them to see how they integrate into the squad.”
The returning Scots contingent is completed by open-side flanker Ross Rennie and centre Nick de Luca while back-row Netani Talei returns from the Fiji camp.
Speaking after his first training session back with the club, centre Nick de Luca said: “It’s been great to see some of the youngsters stepping up and making waves at the club while we’ve been away. Hopefully we can come back, add to that and help move them and the club forward by bringing our skills and strengths.
“I love playing for Edinburgh Rugby but personally it’s vital for me to get off to a new start with a coach who is new to me. I plan to do that by putting my best foot forward in training and playing, and hopefully becoming a favourite of Michael Bradley’s as I look to push my way in there and keep the jersey.”