Damien Hoyland: Coffee business helped me through the rehab grind says Edinburgh winger

When the months of rehab became a grind for Damien Hoyland, the Edinburgh winger was glad he had his coffee business to fall back on.

Damien Hoyland has signed a new contract with Edinburgh. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

The 28-year-old made his comeback from a long-term knee injury against Ulster last weekend and made it a week to remember by signing a new contract with his hometown club on Wednesday.

Having missed a large chunk of the campaign, Hoyland is now looking forward to playing his part in the season’s climax as Edinburgh chase glory on two fronts.

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Having had to contend with a number of injuries in his career he admits the long lay-offs can prey on your mind and any diversion is welcome. He had always enjoyed going out for coffee with his Edinburgh team-mates but he took his interest up a notch in 2016 when he attended a barista class at the city’s Brew Lab.

He then got in tow with a local coffee roaster, Eoin Henderson, and started his own business selling beans online, Ruck Coffee, with teammate Stuart McInally.

Hoyland has now branched out and his ‘Damo’s Coffee’ stall has been a regular fixture at Edinburgh home games this season, with the player himself serving the supporters.

“It’s proving to be pretty popular,” said Hoyland. “I wasn’t sure how it was going to go - would people like flat whites at night? But everyone seems to be enjoying it.

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Damien Hoyland made his comeback for Edinburgh in last Saturday's defeat by Ulster. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

“It’s brilliant having something else to focus on. In the past, when I haven’t, you do start getting anxious about things, like am I going to play again? What’s going to happen with selection? Am I going to be good? All that kind of stuff.

“It’s better to have something else to focus on, to take your mind off it and the coffee stuff has been brilliant. I’ve absolutely loved it.

“I’ve done a few shifts. Being injured allowed me the opportunity and it’s been good to be able to chat with the fans. I’ve really enjoyed doing it and it’s great knowing I’ve got something I love doing outside of rugby.”

As much as he enjoys brewing up for the punters Hoyland would rather be on the pitch and his return against Ulster came as a big relief for the player who has been out since injuring his knee in the home win over Benetton on December 3.

Damien Hoyland has been manning his coffee stall at Edinburgh home games during his injury lay-off. Picture: Edinburgh Rugby

The result went against Edinburgh last weekend, with Ulster winning 16-10, but the losing bonus point secured their place in the URC play-offs. They are also through to the quarter-finals of the European Challenge Cup and Hoyland looks set to be involved in this Saturday’s last-eight tie against Wasps at the DAM Health Stadium.

With Ramiro Moyano and Henry Immelman unlikely to play again this season due to injury, Hoyland’s return is timely and the winger was delighted to commit his future to the club this week.

“It’s great to get that first game out of the way, to be perfectly honest, and it’s good to know I remember how to play rugby,” said the former James Gillespie’s High School pupil.

“I’m really happy about staying here at my hometown club. It’s an exciting time and it almost feels like a new club compared to where I’ve been for the last eight seasons.”

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