Charlie Savala signs new Edinburgh deal and explains his admiration for Finn Russell

Edinburgh Rugby have high hopes for their 21-year-old Australian stand-off Charlie Savala.

Signed from Syndey Roosters’ academy at the end of 2020, Savala switched codes from league to union and while his game-time for the capital club has been limited, there is no doubting the potential they see in the Scotland-qualified fly-half.

That’s why Edinburgh have tied him on a new deal, with head coach Mike Blair determined to get the best out of a player who has “X factor”.

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“Charlie has got attributes that you can’t coach – he has a huge amount of vision and X factor,” said Blair. “There are parts within his game that he’ll want to tidy up and that we’ll look at, around his game management. He’s probably more of a rugby league type intellect, I’d say, at the moment, but he’s learning fast. And he’s hugely ambitious as well.

Charlie Savala has been challenged to make the No 10 spot at Edinburgh hisCharlie Savala has been challenged to make the No 10 spot at Edinburgh his
Charlie Savala has been challenged to make the No 10 spot at Edinburgh his

“I want to see him pushing in around that No 1, No 2 berth, and we believe that re-signing him will give him that opportunity to improve. It’s been difficult with him not getting huge amounts of game time, but he’s getting bits, and he’s improving in training as well, which is crucial – there’s no plateau through that. I believe he’s a hugely exciting player for Edinburgh going forward.”

Savala knows that his game is based around flair. “When I was growing up one of my coaches back home said to me, ‘the less I coach you, the better it is for you’,” he said. “And that’s one thing that’s stuck with me. For my game, I don’t like to have a cramped style.

“As a fly-half I really enjoy playing with freedom and Mike has allowed me to do that. There are obviously times when you need to be reined in a bit and things need to be done structurally but it is great to have that freedom.”

Savala takes inspiration from another creative No 10 in Finn Russell. “I had a few role models growing up but Finn is one that sticks in the mind,” he revealed. “He’s obviously an icon for Scottish rugby at the moment and I do love the way he plays and watching Scotland play when he’s in the team. You could say that’s someone I’ve looked up to.”

Since moving to Edinburgh in December 2020, Savala has acclimatised well to life in the capital. He says it now feels like home and is enjoying life with the URC contenders.

“It’s a special moment for me to be able to re-sign for this club,” Savala added. “It means a lot to me to play for this club. It’s become my home now over here. I feel my development as a player is a direct result of the coaches and the competitive squad we’ve got here.

“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Mike’s appointment as coach has been great for me, he’s shown full faith in me and has been great for my development. Being a half-back himself has been really beneficial for me and I’m really enjoying my time under him.

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"I love the place, I love Edinburgh. There’s a real positive vibe around the place and I think we’re going somewhere special with the club and I really want to push it forward.”

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