Greig Tonks rooting for Edinburgh against Glasgow in 1872 Cup

Greig Tonks has his own big match to worry about on Saturday, but the former Edinburgh Rugby man will have his fingers crossed that his old club can come back to win the 1872 Scottish Cup in the second leg.
Former Edinburgh stand-off Greig Tonks in action for his new club side London Irish. Picture: Getty.Former Edinburgh stand-off Greig Tonks in action for his new club side London Irish. Picture: Getty.
Former Edinburgh stand-off Greig Tonks in action for his new club side London Irish. Picture: Getty.

Tonks, the Scotland cap who played for the capital outfit between 2012 and the middle of last season, is now with London Irish and at the weekend they will be looking to come out on top in the second leg of the Greene King IPA English Championship semi-final.

The Reading-based outfit, whose squad includes fellow Scots Blair Cowan and Scott Steele as well as ex-Edinburgh skipper Mike Coman, have a commanding 35-3 lead from the first leg against Doncaster Knights.

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They meet again on Saturday lunchtime with Tonks keen to try to watch the Glasgow Warriors-Edinburgh clash on television later on in the day if he can.

The 27-year-old made 79 appearances for Edinburgh and still has a number of friends within the squad so he has been disappointed to see them struggle this term.

Duncan Hodge’s men go into the second leg, which brings to an end the Guinness Pro12 campaign for both Scottish clubs, 25-12 down.

“It has been tough watching from afar and seeing Edinburgh struggle so much in recent months because, having played with a lot of the guys, I know that the squad has the quality to be higher up the Pro12 table,” Tonks said. “Obviously the coaching changes early in the season did not help too much and I feel a bit sorry for Duncan Hodge because I know he is a really good coach, but maybe he has just not been quite able to impose his style on the team for one reason or another.

“I still chat to and text a lot of the boys there and although they are obviously annoyed with how things are going they are keen to try to end things on a high with a win over Glasgow, while I think they are all excited about Richard Cockerill (pictured) coming in as head coach in the summer.

“It will be interesting to see who he brings into the squad, but I hope he continues to back the youth that is already there and coming through because I believe those players will come good going forward.

“As for the game against Glasgow, well, it was the one that we always looked forward to as players and in recent years Edinburgh have quite a good record.

“We used to play the two legs a few days apart while this year the guys have had to wait a few months since Boxing Day, but both sets of players will be keen to end the campaign on a high with summer tour places maybe still up for grabs.”

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Tonks mentions the summer tour – Scotland take on Italy, Australia and Fiji – but having not played for his country in two years the stand-off/full-back is not thinking of a recall.

All of his energy is focused on making sure London Irish win the play-offs and get back to the Aviva Premiership at the first time of asking.

To do so they need to complete the job against Doncaster and then see off either 
Yorkshire Carnegie or Ealing Trailfinders in a two-legged final.

“The play-offs are tough, but they are what we have been working towards all season,” the former Leicester Tigers and Northampton man stated.

“We know that we have a squad that can go into the top flight and compete because there is a lot of international caps at London Irish, but you have to earn that place and we know we still have some very tough games to come.

“I have really enjoyed my time here since the middle of last season and there is a great camaraderie among the guys, so hopefully we can see the job through in the coming weeks.”