Nathan Fowles grateful for chance to stake scrum-half claim

Nathan Fowles insists he's growing in confidence with each passing week. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Nathan Fowles insists he's growing in confidence with each passing week. Picture: Ian Rutherford

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Scrum-half Nathan Fowles is determined to hold on to the Edinburgh No 9 jersey for as long as possible after emerging as a surprise first-choice in the early part of the season.

The Rochdale-born 23-year-old, who is Scottish qualified, has been keeping Test cap Sam Hidalgo-Clyne on the bench and is hoping to get the nod from Alan Solomons again today when the coach names his team for tomorrow night’s home Guinness Pro12 clash with Leinster at BT Murrayfield.

“I’m really grateful to Solly for giving me the opportunity and as each week goes by I’m getting more and more confident and feel the partnership with Duncan Weir is growing,” said Fowles, pictured right.

“Competition with Sam and Sean [Kennedy] is healthy. I like it when there’s competition it makes us all work harder, you see it in training and how the boys are pushing each other all the time to achieve so it’s healthy as well.”

Fowles has been enjoying playing alongside Scotland stand-off Weir, who produced a man-of-the-match display in last Friday’s 20-9 home win over Scarlets.

“We get on really well not just on the field but off it as well, he’s a great guy and especially in the changing room, he’s settled in really well,” said Fowles of the new signing from Glasgow Warriors.

“Obviously Duncy’s been playing really well, especially Friday night, he controlled the game really well and if I try to help him as best I can I think we’ll work well.”

At the end of last season Fowles was behind Hidalgo-Clyne and Kennedy in the scrum-half pecking order, but a man-of-the-tournament showing at the Melrose Sevens appears to have galvanised the Mancunian.

“I really enjoyed Melrose,” he said. “I played quite a bit when I was at Sale and it was a really good platform for me to show a bit more of what I’m about.

“That was a good stage to just show myself, show a bit more than people might have seen before. It put me in good stead and obviously I had a good pre-season behind me, worked hard in that.”

Fowles knows that Leinster tomorrow will require a step up from the performance that dealt with Scarlets.

“I think they’ll be pretty disappointed with how it turned out and their performance against Glasgow,” said Fowles. “They might be a bit of a wounded animal. But we said before Scarlets, our home games are non-negotiable this year, we want to be a top-four side, we have to win our games at home. We have to build on what we did last week.”

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