By: Pamela Paterson
Edinburgh Rugby Team hope to reverse their poor run of results as they take on Welsh side Scarlets tonight. Nine international players have returned to the squad after taking part in Scotland’s winless Six Nations campaign, while several players have had their contracts extended for another two seasons.
Coach Michael Bradley stated, “We would love to win the match on Friday night because I think we need it for our sanity at this stage.”
Ross Rennie, who this week announced a contract extension, said, “Everyone is desperate for a win.”
Speaking about the team’s recent poor results, Bradley said, “We’ve had a bad run in the Pro12. We do need to stop the run we’re on and it’s a good opportunity for us to do that at home. That is our priority.”
If the team win their remaining matches they can finish ninth in the league. For the players, it is now time to look ahead to building up momentum for next season. Centre Nick De Luca, who also extended his contract with Edinburgh Rugby this week, said, “Even if we win all our games we’re still not getting a good finish, let’s be honest. It’s more important for going forward into the next season.”
Bradley was also keen to stress the importance of the return of the international players, who started training earlier this week, saying, “They are a big part of Edinburgh Rugby. It’s been great to have them back.”
Rennie believes that their return has bolstered the team prior to both their coming matches. He said, “I think we’ve obviously had a tough time in the league as we did in the Six Nations. I think us coming back together has brought a new bit of life to the people who were here and a bit of life to the guys who were away. I think everyone is just looking forward to building towards something really special.”
Head coach Michael Bradley believes that Scarlets will bring a strong side, as along with Edinburgh, they will be selecting “with a view to fine tuning for the following week,” when both sides are taking part in separate Heineken Cup quarter finals. Speaking about the clash against Toulouse, he said, “It is a one-off event, a separate entity.”
Dumfries-born De Luca believes that the performance of the team in the Scarlets match is key to preparing for next week’s game. He said, “We need a huge performance this weekend to get things very right, or close to perfect.”
De Luca also spoke about the Scotland team’s fortunes in the Six Nations, including the yellow cards he received in both the Wales and Italy matches. He said, “I felt myself that I was under a lot of pressure, I just have to look at my own discipline and why I’m putting myself in those situations. The one in Wales I panicked and just had a moment of madness.”
Along with De Luca and Rennie, Irish coach Michael Bradley has re-signed the services of 17 other players for the following two seasons, as well as gaining new players, WP Nel, Greig Tonks and Ulises Gamboa. There are several other new signings which have yet to be announced.
These new unknown signings were a major factor for both De Luca and Rennie when they decided to extend their contracts. De Luca said that while he looked elsewhere he knew that remaining in Edinburgh was the decision he wanted. Rennie, meanwhile, was keen to stay at the club where he began his professional rugby career. He said, “I’m very happy to be offered something here and very happy to stay. I think with the new signings coming in a lot is going to change. I think it’s going to be an ambitious club next year.”
Edinburgh Rugby Team to play Scarlets at Murrayfield Stadium 30 March (KO 7.35pm):
Tom Brown, Lee Jones, Nick De Luca, Matt Scott, Tim Visser, Greig Laidlaw (c), Mike Blair, Allan Jacobsen, Ross Ford, Geoff Cross, Grant Gilchrist, Sean Cox, David Denton, Ross Rennie, Stuart McInally.
Replacements: Andrew Kelly, Kyle Traynor, Jack Gilding, Esteban Lozada, Roddy Grant, Chris Leck, Phil Godman, Jim Thompson.