Price is right: Why Scotland scrum-half loan move makes sense for Edinburgh, Glasgow and Gregor Townsend
At the age of 30 and in the prime of his career, Price needs to be playing regular rugby. A British and Irish Lion with 66 Scotland caps to his name, the Kings Lynn-born No 9 has slipped down the pecking order at Glasgow under current head coach Franco Smith. The South African often preferred George Horne to Price in big matches and while the former Saracens man has been at Scotstoun for a decade, all good things must come to an end.
Price's switch came not only at the request of Edinburgh, but also Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend. Price's international career appeared to be tailing off with the emergence of Ben White as first-choice scrum-half and Horne's dynamic, creative capabilities making him a more attractive option from the bench. Yet in the most high-stakes match Scotland faced in the recent World Cup, Townsend turned to Price ahead of the other two against Ireland. It is clear he remains in Townsend's first XV thoughts.
Price is an intelligent, experienced scrum-half with a proven record alongside Scotland talisman and stand-off Finn Russell. It is only natural that Townsend wants him to be playing every week and not a bit-part member of the Glasgow team. He has not been used in any capacity since that match against the Irish due to a groin complaint and with Horne backed up by Jamie Dobie, another scrum-half the SRU has high hopes for, and Sean Kennedy, they are well-stocked in that department.
Price will begin training with Edinburgh on Monday and their new head coach, Sean Everitt, will be delighted to get a player of Price's calibre next to their own marquee No 10 in Ben Healy, the ex-Munsterman who has slotted into life seamlessly at the Hive. Healy, a very impressive and powerful kicker, will relish good clean ball from Price and with an expectation from the Scottish Rugby Union for Edinburgh to improve markedly this term, this signing should help them. Spare a thought for the team's co-captain and scrum-half Ben Vellacott, who may find starts more limited, along with fellow nine Charlie Shiel. Scott Steele, a recent signing from London Scottish, is out injured. It is clear Edinburgh were light in that position until Price's arrival.
The player himself knows that playing second fiddle to Horne would hamper progression. A change of scenery may not be a bad thing for Price either, who has been a great servent to Glasgow yet may find his game reinvigorated under Everitt, who has years of coaching experience in South Africa. “I’m looking forward to finding my feet amongst a new group of players and seeing how I can work alongside the Scotland boys I’ve been in camp with before," Price said. "This is a new challenge that I look forward to seeing where it can lead.”
Being the owner of Edinburgh and Glasgow, the SRU will be pleased to find a solution for everyone ahead of key URC matches, the start of the European season and the upcoming Six Nations, which starts in February.
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