Mike Coman can boost Edinburgh back row

Mike Coman, pictured with the Ranfurly Shield. Picture: Getty

Mike Coman, pictured with the Ranfurly Shield. Picture: Getty

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HURRICANES skills coach Clark Laidlaw believes that

Edinburgh’s latest signing Mike Coman will make a positive impact on the capital club.

Laidlaw’s Murrayfield counterpart Alan Solomons targeted depleted resources in the back row as a priority on arriving in the capital last month.

Georgia Test cap Dimitri Basilaia and David Denton were the sole men covering No 8 and blindside flanker positions but, with New Zealander Coman agreeing a two-year deal, to start next month, Edinburgh now have a league of nations in their back row.

The Georgian and Scot, and three Scottish openside flankers, have been joined by Argentinian Tomas Leonardi, signed last week on a three-month deal which the player hopes will turn into a long-term one, and South African Cornell du Preez, who is on a two-year contract.

“From speaking to people in New Zealand, and seeing footage of Mike in action, I believe this is a very good signing for Edinburgh Rugby,” Solomons said. “He has very good leadership skills, is a very solid number eight, and has all the requisite skills. With his background I have no doubt he will add value to this team, as we continue to build a solid foundation and a brighter future for this club.”

Coman, 25, is the current Hawke’s Bay “Magpies” captain, and the 6ft 4in, 17-stone forward will only arrive in Edinburgh late next month after his side complete their ITM Cup campaign. They are pushing for a return to the Premiership, having won it in 2011 and been relegated last year. That will be too late for the opening rounds of the Heineken Cup, although the New Zealand under-19 cap could be added into into the squad during the pool stages.

As well as being skills coach, former Scotland sevens skipper Laidlaw leads the Hurricanes development squad, which Coman captained successfully.

Speaking to The Scotsman from New Zealand, he said: “I

am pleased for Mike and for Edinburgh because he is a good signing.

“At Hurricanes he was behind All Black Victor Vito, Brad Shields, who will be an All Black pretty soon, and experienced Super 15 player Faifili Levave. He has played Super Rugby and, although he struggled to break into the Super 15 team, he has been knocking hard on the door.

“He’s having one of his best years for Hawke’s Bay and, while it’s hard to be sure how he will go at Edinburgh, I’d say Mike should make a decent impact.

“He is an awesome trainer, with massive workrate and good leadership skills. He is also good off the field and was voted ‘team man of the year’ by the players.

“It’s tough in New Zealand because the competition for Super 15 and All Black places is so intense that it forces boys to look elsewhere. But I certainly think he can contribute hugely to Edinburgh as a team.”

Coman commented: “I’m very excited to be joining Edinburgh Rugby. I’ve had some great experiences with Hawke’s Bay, in particular winning the Ranfurly Shield, but the time feels right to move on and try a new

challenge.

“I still have a job to do with the Magpies but I’m really excited about what lies ahead in Edinburgh.

“All the research I‘ve done tells me that it’s a club on the rise, and I can’t wait to get involved and make a positive contribution to their success.”

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