1872 Cup: Edinburgh's Nick Haining impressed by Glasgow's Jack Dempsey and relishing battle of the Aussie No 8s
Jack Dempsey has been the signing of the season for Glasgow Warriors, but he is not the only abrasive Aussie No 8 on the block.
Nick Haining has been tearing it up for Edinburgh for the last couple of years and is unfazed by the prospect of mixing it with Glasgow’s man of the moment in Monday’s 1872 Cup opener at Scotstoun.
The capital back-rower has been impressed by Dempsey but does not seem unduly concerned about locking horns with the Sydney-born Wallaby international.
“I play against good players every week,” said Haining. “He’s obviously in form so we’ve previewed him and seen where his threats are, and it is just going to be a good challenge.
“He’s playing really well and that’s what you want – to be playing against the best each week, against people who are in form – so I am just relishing it really.
“We’ve seen the way he can pick from the ruck really well, he’s got great feet and a really powerful unit, so he’s someone we’ve got to be looking out for – but the way our defence has been going recently, I don’t think it will be an issue for us.”
Both teams go into the game on the back of excellent results in Europe and Edinburgh can also boast fine form in the United Rugby Championship, where they sit in second place, one point behind leaders Leinster after seven rounds of fixtures.
“Results have gone really well for us over the last couple of months,” said Haining. “We’ve been getting a bit of momentum with the way we’re playing, but we’re still not at our best which is the really promising thing for us.
“We know it is going to be a tough clash, with Glasgow coming off a good win against Exeter last week, so it will be a big occasion, but we’re primed and ready. There have been a few distractions, but we’re not letting that get to us. We’re looking forward to it.”
Edinburgh had a free weekend following their impressive away win over Saracens. The way in which Mike Blair’s side made light of the absence of the Bill Mata and Jamie Ritchie illustrated their strength in the back row and Haining has been relishing his run in the team.
“Knowing you are going to be playing each week is a challenge to make sure you keep your body right,” said the Scotland international. “I’ve obviously been injured previously for quite a while, so it has been good for me to get a run of games to build momentum, and it has benefitted my body quite a bit to get into that routine.
“So, I’m relishing it. It is obviously really sad for Bill – I know he’s frustrated and I hope he recovers really well from his ACL – but it is an opportunity for me to step up and I’m really looking forward to the challenge.
“The back-row is absolutely loaded this year, and that’s hopefully breeding good habits in us, because we know we have to challenge each other in training and in games to put our hands up for a spot.”
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