Reid's solid foundation for future at Edinburgh

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IF ROLAND REID shows the same vision on the field as he did when planning a future beyond rugby then one of the first of Edinburgh's new signings to report for pre-season training will surely serve the club well.

For twice-capped Reid has revealed that, on leaving Glasgow Warriors two years ago at the start of a journey that was to take him to Leeds, London Irish and South African domestic champions Boland before ending up at Murrayfield, he bought a house in the Capital.

Whether it was a sense of destiny or simple pragmatism based on the fact his fiance, Emma Roberts, works as a solicitor in Edinburgh, scarcely matters.

What does count is that with Reid very much putting down roots here he feels better equipped to star than perhaps any time in a career which, so far, peaked in 2001 with international appearances for Scotland versus Argentina and Tonga, against whom he scored a debut try. Reid, 28, said: "No matter what my career held when I left Glasgow, I knew Edinburgh to be a good place to own a house.

"From experience, with things settled off the field I can focus more on my rugby and hopefully get back into a Scotland team I was honoured and proud to represent."

Playing under the noses of Frank Hadden and his fellow national coaches will certainly do no harm for Reid albeit in a different position in the back row from when he was capped on the wing. Versatility can be an advantage but the down side is your consistency can be undermined through chopping and changing mindsets.

"Since my Glasgow days I have been playing mainly No.8 and that is where I'll hope to make my mark from now on," he said.

During his time out wide the young Reid, now 17st 6lbs, earned comparisons with the great Jonah Lomu because of the bulk and pace he brought to a back line.

"It was flattering to hear some talk of me as a 'Scottish Lomu' but in reality I was very inexperienced," he says.

Regardless of his constant switching of positions, Reid knows nothing can ever take away from those cap highlights when further lustre was added to a notable sporting family.

Reid's great-uncle was Don Kitchenbrand, a prolific goal-scorer with Rangers in the 1950s. Connections with Scotland while growing up on the veldt don't end there either.

While representing the Transvaal youth team, Reid undertook a project studying captain/coach relationships which was based mainly on the Springboks' late World Cup- winning mentor, Kitch Christie, who hailed from Leith before emigrating.

"I learned a lot from gaining greater understanding about what the coach is trying to put across which has served me well and I was grateful to the Golden Cats (formerly Transvaal) coach Eugene Eloff, who set that challenge because he felt his players should be knowledgeable about all aspects of rugby. Unfortunately, though, I wasn't at Ellis Park to see Christie and his captain Francois Pienaar [pictured below] win the World Cup in 1995 because I was too busy proving that youth is wasted on the young. As a teenager I was offered a job in security which would have meant being almost on the touchline during the final but for some stupid and foolish reason I declined."

It is, of course, the future that counts for the one-time runner-up in the South African Schools long jump championship - he was fifth in the 200 metres final - and that means helping Edinburgh in a season where he'll be out to boost Heineken Cup appearances garnered with Glasgow and Leeds past the 23 mark (including seven as a sub).

"Because of my Edinburgh connections there was maybe a bit of extra pressure attached to a trial period. However, despite having a couple of offers from elsewhere, Edinburgh is the perfect fit and I was determined to impress and hope now to repay coaches Lynn Howells and Rob Moffat for their faith and encouragement. Being one of the first back for training due to the fact I haven't been playing in any of the summer competitions suits fine after the Boland team went out of business in March leaving some wages unpaid. Not having played for some month has made me more eager than ever and I look forward to making up for lost time."