Ali Price and Jamie Ritchie available as Edinburgh gear up for Vodacom Bulls’ power game
The Scotland scrum-half has moved to the capital on loan from Glasgow Warriors in a deal that was said to be “in the national interest”. Price struggled for game-time at Glasgow last season and subsequently lost his place in the Scotland team. He regained it for the final two games of the Rugby World Cup and will now look to play more regularly at Edinburgh ahead of the Six Nations.
“Ali started training today,” Edinburgh assistant coach Stevie Lawrie said on Monday. “I didn’t know much of him [beforehand] other than how well he can play against us. We met him on Friday as a coaching group, he’s hit the ground running. He’s really good with his detail, and the boys are excited to have him. He’s certainly somebody that’s going to bring a lot of quality and a good bit of competition as well. It’s an area where we want to grow our quality, and if we can have competition in our squad that’s only going to be great for everybody.”
Price has joined until the end of the season and Lawrie confirmed that he would be available for selection for the home game against the Bulls who are top of the United Rugby Championship with three wins from their opening four matches. Edinburgh have posted similar stats but have no bonus points and are three points behind the South Africans in eighth place.
Edinburgh defeated Connacht at the Hive on Saturday night, with Ben Vellacott delivering a man-of-the-match performance after replacing Charlie Shiel at scrum-half early in the second half. The capital club also have Scott Steele on their books, having signed him from Harlequins in the summer, but the four-times capped scrum-half is currently sidelined with a hip injury. “Competition is a good thing for everybody,” added Lawrie. “It raises the level at training and it means that when you play you need to perform well.”
Edinburgh could be further boosted by the return of Jamie Ritchie for the Bulls game. The Scotland captain has not played since injuring his shoulder against Ireland at the World Cup. “Jamie Ritchie is available for selection as well,” confirmed Lawrie. “He’s training really well.”
Friday's match will be the final one of the Bulls’ four-game European mini-tour before they return to Pretoria. They have won two from three despite being without their quartet of World Cup winners, defeating Zebre and Cardiff after losing to Ulster. Kurt-Lee Arendse, Willie le Roux, Canan Moodie and Marco van Staden were left at home to recover from the tournament in France but Lawrie still expects an exacting test against one of the URC’s most robust teams, particularly at the scrum where the arrival from Harlequins of tighthead Wilco Louw has given them extra heft.
“They’ll be a massive challenge physically,” said the forwards coach. “They’ll bring their power game. I think they’ve gone back to that a little bit more this season. Wilco Louw has made a difference in terms of how they’ve scrummaged but we’ve also had some positive scrummaging displays, so that’s going to be a key area.”
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.