SCOTLAND and Edinburgh centre Nick de Luca is determined to use his enforced absence to help improve himself and his club.
De Luca looks set to miss the entire RBS Six Nations campaign after undergoing surgery on a fractured eye socket last week, but he has already put himself to good use in searching for the answers to Edinburgh’s disappointing season.
With the club still without a European point ahead of their final Heineken Cup clash, against Saracens at Vicarage Road, and in the bottom half of the RaboDirect PRO12, the 28-year-old has plenty to occupy his time. De Luca said: “The recovery is going well, it’s taking a while but I’m on the mend. I’m still positive and upbeat. It’s part of the job and we are all aware of that.
“You can’t get too down on it. I’m keeping myself busy on the analysis side and trying to add something to Edinburgh and get them back on track. I’ve been in the game a long time now and this is probably my second longest injury. I was out a couple of seasons ago with my groin for a long period of time. Not that I wasted it but I could have used my time more valuably.
“I’m doing that now and, obviously, from a team perspective, Edinburgh aren’t going so well, so I’m just trying to help with the information flow to the players and some of my peers, and help get the message from the coaches across to make us a better team.
“For example the players are leading a couple of initiatives we want to become world class at. I can’t go into it just now but we are leading those meetings and feeding back the analysis and information to the players.”
De Luca has not completely ruled himself out of the full Six Nations campaign, which ends for Scotland in Paris on 16 March, but a comeback looks unlikely. He said: “It’s not too definite with this injury, you just have to see how it goes. The minimum is eight weeks from surgery, so six and a half weeks to go, depending on how it heals. I just want to get as fit as I can and get training and maybe playing well for Edinburgh, and if there’s an opportunity I’ll take it.”
De Luca was talking as the Famous Grouse confirmed its continued support of Scottish rugby with a new three-year deal to promote the “Ginger Grouse” alcoholic ginger beer.
The Famous Grouse ended a 17-year association with the SRU in 2007, having been the longest-running shirt sponsor of a national rugby side, as Grouse owners, The Edrington Group, looked to develop in more international markets.
However, the firm retained links with the game as the “Official Spirit of Scottish Rugby” and yesterday toasted a new three-year sponsorship where the Ginger Grouse will take over as the official drink in Murrayfield bars.