Henry Pyrgos not settling for Edinburgh Rugby back-up role - 'I'll stick to what I do really well'

Henry Pyrgos might be well into the twilight of his career, but the 32-year-old bristles when it is suggested that his aspirations should now amount to being back-up to younger men Ben Vellacott and Charlie Shiel for the Edinburgh No 9 slot.

Henry Pyrgos has made an impact off the bench for Edinburgh in recent weeks. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)
Henry Pyrgos has made an impact off the bench for Edinburgh in recent weeks. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

And he served notice that he is not yet ready to ease slowly into retirement when he came off the bench midway through the second half of Edinburgh’s United Rugby Championship clash against Benetton two weekends ago to play an instrumental role in shifting momentum towards his team.

Pyrgos added an energy which was best summed up by the excellent blindside break which took play deep into opposition territory. He also came on as a replacement to help the capital outfit see out an impressive win over Saracens in the Champions Cup last weekend.

Throughout his long career – which has featured 28 caps for Scotland and the PRO12 title with Glasgow Warriors in 2015 before making the switch to Edinburgh in 2018 – Pyrgos has been seen as a steady hand, and he is clearly frustrated that the attacking side of his game is often overlooked.

“Ben is very fast, so is Chico [Shiel], and that’s not necessarily my game, but I was in the Glasgow team which won the league, and I did alright there, so I think there is different ways to bring tempo playing at scrum-half,” he says.

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“I’ll stick to what I do really well and try to have a big impact on the team and help where I can.

“This is my 12th year as a professional so there have been plenty of ups and downs over that time,” he adds. “It is something you get better at dealing with as you get older.

“I just push as hard as I can and try to keep my standards as high as possible every time I train.

“When you have got young kids and are studying as well [for a Masters in Sport Directorship at Manchester Metropolitan University], you have other things to think about, but I am always trying to get better at the things I can do and take a lot of satisfaction from training as well as I can.”

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“Obviously, there are frustrating times, because you always want to be playing, but if that doesn’t happen you have got move on quickly. It’s a cliché but you can only control what you can control. That is something you learn, and you need to be good at it. There are a lot of ups and downs in your career.”

The Challenge Cup draw has given Edinburgh this weekend off, which means an extended build-up to their 1872 Cup clash against Glasgow Warriors on the day after Boxing Day.

“We know that Glasgow are a really good side and it’s a derby game, so we have to play well,” concludes Pyrgos. “You’ve got to be physical in a derby game, that’s the minimum requirement, if you want to be in the game.”

“Also, for guys looking for international honours, you are up against guys who are rivals for that jersey.

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“It is a big game and building into those weeks is very exciting. The guys want to perform well.”

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