Edinburgh Rugby backs have a point to prove in 1872 Cup

Edinburgh centre Chris Dean insists the capital backline will be motivated to prove a point against their cap-laden opposite numbers in Boxing Day's first 1872 Cup match of the season at BT Murrayfield.

20/12/16 EDINBURGH RUGBY TRAINING ORIAM - EDINBURGH Edinburgh's Chris Dean in training

Not a single Edinburgh back featured in Scotland’s recent autumn Test series, with the Warriors maintaining their stranglehold behind the international scrum and will look to ram home that advantage as they seek to take the cup back after two successive shock losses.

Edinburgh have shrugged off the underdogs’ tag in the past couple of years and 22-year-old midfielder Dean views the match as a great opportunity to prove that they too have international-class quality out wide.

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Matt Scott and Tim Visser were the most established Edinburgh backs in the Scotland set-up but their departures south of the border have opened doors for some emerging talent and Dean is determined to lay down a marker.

“Matt leaving opened up opportunities for me that, if he had been here, I might not have got,” said the former Edinburgh Academical from North Berwick. “I want to make the point there is another Scot in the midfield flying around and it’s not just the Glasgow boys. This is a perfect opportunity for me to do that.”

Dean is relishing the prospect of going head-to-head with the likes of Alex Dunbar and Mark Bennett.

“It is always exciting to play guys of that calibre, especially when they are Scottish just like me; it brings that extra edge to it,” he said. “It would be a good test and one I am looking forward to.”

Dean wasn’t involved in last year’s inter-city showdown when Edinburgh retained the trophy with a 20-8 win at home before backing that up a week later with a 14-11 success which was also played at BT Murrayfield due to Scotstoun being waterlogged.

This season the back-to-back element is gone, with the second leg moved to the last weekend of the regular season, but Dean says holding the trophy means a lot to a club who have been overshadowed by their rivals from the west in recent years and they are 
determined to get their defence of the trophy off to a good start.

“Two years on the bounce we have won it and we are looking to go three,” said the former Scotland Sevens star.

Of course, with Edinburgh languishing in tenth place in the Guinness PRO12, the championship points on offer are more precious than any potential bragging rights and Dean acknowledged that it was vital that the team respond to their 26-20 loss to Stade Francais – a first defeat in Europe this season – and start rebuilding their disappointing league position.

“It is inconsistency we are trying to iron out,” he explained. “Potentially parts of that have been the mental edge. We played Harlequins, big team, big game. Then we follow it up against a lesser viewed team that caught us on a bad day against Zebre.

“This week that mental edge will be there on both sides so I really think it will be good performances from both teams.”

Fellow 22-year-old and wing Damien Hoyland is another who is looking to send a message to national coach Vern Cotter. He was in the autumn Test squad but it was Glasgow rival Rory Hughes who made two matchday 23s.

“I would be lying if I said [the Six Nations] wasn’t in my thoughts,” said the wing, who has been capped twice.

“Playing for Scotland has always been a massive goal of mine

“To do that, you have to play well for your club so right now that is the main thing.

“Long-term I want to play for Scotland but short term Edinburgh is the bread and butter and we have to pick up wins.”