'He’s obviously got aspirations' - Edinburgh Rugby forward Magnus Bradbury’s Scotland credentials endorsed

It’s coming up for two years since Magnus Bradbury last pulled on a Scotland jersey, but the Edinburgh back-rower is in the sort of form which suggests a recall is imminent.

On-form Magnus Bradbury suffers a facial injury during Edinburgh's United Rugby Championship win over Cardiff. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)
On-form Magnus Bradbury suffers a facial injury during Edinburgh's United Rugby Championship win over Cardiff. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

A man-of-the-match performance in Saturday’s 34-10 win over Cardiff helped send his club to the top of the United Rugby Championship and further enhanced Bradbury’s credentials.

Gregor Townsend will name his squad for the Six Nations Championship later this month and No 8 remains one the few positions up for grabs.

Matt Fagerson started there in three of the four Autumn Nations Series games but has found himself playing at blindside flanker for Glasgow Warriors to accommodate Jack Dempsey who will become eligible to play for Scotland next year.

Magnus Bradbury shows off his footballing skills in training. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

Josh Bayliss was the starting eight in the final autumn Test against Japan – with Fagerson appearing as a second-half replacement – and Nick Haining was used there in the final Six Nations match of last season against France when Fagerson was injured.

Bradbury has certainly put his hand up for selection in recent weeks. His ball-carrying abilities have been more in evidence this season than last when he was sometimes used as an emergency lock and the former Oban Lorne man seems to be flourishing under Mike Blair’s leadership at Edinburgh.

“Sometimes you have a wee dip in form,” said Stevie Lawrie, the capital club’s forwards coach. “I love Magnus and he’s a great guy to coach because he’s daft and he’s mad. He’s serious when he needs to be serious but he’s a lot of fun.

“I’m excited around his ball-carrying. We’re trying to get him animated on his carries, using hit footwork. He’s a serious physical presence. He gets over the gainline and I think he has played really, really well this year.

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“He’s obviously got aspirations to get back into that Scotland team and I’m pleased he’s doing a really good job for Edinburgh. With Bill Mata being injured we’ve got Magnus and Nick Haining and it shows the depth that we’re fortunate to have at the club in that position.”

While the backs have been getting most of the plaudits for Edinburgh’s exciting brand of rugby this season, it is the work done up front by the big men that has given them the platform to shine.

Lawrie is proud of the performance of the forwards and in particular their discipline, with Edinburgh yet to pick up a yellow or red card this season.

“You want to have 15 players on the field,” said the coach. “It’s something we train for. We also train for when guys get yellow-carded obviously, but you’ve got to be acutely aware that discipline is an important thing.

“I think we’ve probably played with a bit more width and we’ve scored from a little bit further out than we have done previously. However, there have been games where our scrum – look at Saracens away and Bulls at home - has really fronted up and that has given up the opportunity to either kick goals or kick deep into their half and have a lineout drive at them.

“So although the [majority of] tries maybe haven’t come in that way, we’ve scored from driven mauls at key moments and I think there is more balance to our game this year.”

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