EDINBURGH utility back Ben Cairns will make his comeback from his injury nightmare tomorrow night when he gets a run out for Melrose in their British & Irish Cup match away at Nottingham.
The news that the 27-year-old Scotland international is due to start at centre for the club he was allocated to in the pro draft will be widely welcomed. Ever since he burst on to the club scene with Currie and then moved on to the Capital’s professional side he has been a popular figure.
But he suffered a major setback in the pre-season as Edinburgh prepared for the 2011/12 campaign with a friendly against Sale Sharks.
Cairns partially ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, which put him out of action for several months.
His rehabilitation went well and he returned to training in December 2011, only for the same ligament to rupture fully in just his third session back.
Speaking to The Scotsman last night Cairns said: “When the first injury happened I knew it was pretty serious but I was encouraged when the medical staff told me it was not as bad as first thought and that I could be back in a few months.
“When the second incident occurred it really was a big blow but, as professional sportsmen, we have to be ready for possible injuries and, since I had the operation in January, I have been set mini goals and have just worked as hard as I can to get back to full fitness.”
Cairns admits that, over the last 12 months, he has had moments where he has felt down but he has forced himself to stay positive.
His rehabilitation has been supervised by Edinburgh’s assistant physio Dan Moore and head fitness coach Andy Boyd and Cairns has been back training with the rest of the squad for around five weeks.
The former pupil of the Royal High School in the capital, who has seven Scotland caps, cannot wait to get back out on the pitch and, although he may have dreamed that he would be with Edinburgh for the Heineken Cup tie at Racing Metro this weekend, he is just as delighted to be running out at Meadow Lane with Melrose.
“I am very grateful to both Edinburgh Rugby and Melrose for working together to allow me to get game time on Friday.
“I have always had great respect for Melrose as a club with all of the tradition that surrounds them, while I also have family connections with the Borders.
“We are travelling down on Thursday and it will be a good opportunity to get to know the guys and, hopefully, I can help Melrose secure a win. Just being back out there will give me a great buzz.”
Having come through the ranks at Currie, Cairns still keeps a keen eye on the club game with his older brother Mark currently skippering the Malleny Park side.
As a result Cairns knows all about the British & Irish Cup and believes it has been a great addition to the season for the top club sides.
“Speaking with Mark and others who have been involved it seems that the tournament has helped raise the standards for club players and, if pros like myself can come in and help Scottish sides be a success, then it is a ‘win-win’ situation for everyone.”
As well as Cairns, Edinburgh professionals Sep Visser, Lewis Niven and Harry Leonard have been released to turn out for Melrose, while his centre partner will be Glasgow Warriors elite development player Bruce Dick.