Sean Everitt on Ali Price’s Edinburgh future, taking on Springbok-loaded Sharks and chance for World Cup revenge

Edinburgh boss has been impressed by scrum-half since joining on loan from Glasgow

Ali Price is absent from Edinburgh’s touring party in South Africa but the club are in talks to keep the scrum-half beyond the end of this season.

Price, 30, joined on loan from Glasgow Warriors in November in a surprise move but one which made sense given there were three Scotland scrum-halves on the books at Scotstoun while Edinburgh had lost their new No 9 Scott Steele to a long-term hip injury.

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Sean Everitt, the Edinburgh head coach, has been impressed by the 67-times capped Price and would like to tie him down on a longer-term deal. His Glasgow contract expires at the end of the season. “We see Ali as a vital cog in our team going forward and we’d love to keep him in Edinburgh,” said Everitt. “We are still in talks with Ali with regards to ’24/25.”

Ali Price moved from Glasgow to Edinburgh on loan until the end of the season and the capital club would like to tie him down on a longer deal. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)Ali Price moved from Glasgow to Edinburgh on loan until the end of the season and the capital club would like to tie him down on a longer deal. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Ali Price moved from Glasgow to Edinburgh on loan until the end of the season and the capital club would like to tie him down on a longer deal. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

Edinburgh are in the midst of a mini-tour of South Africa which opened with a loss to the Stormers in Cape Town and concludes with a game against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday. Price hasn’t travelled because his partner Annie gave birth to their daughter on Tuesday. Everitt congratulated the couple and also expressed his hope that the new arrival might make the player less inclined to seek a move elsewhere. “I’ll certainly use it as motivation to keep him,” smiled Everitt.

The coach feels he has “able replacements” in Ben Vellacott and Charlie Shiel for this weekend’s match which will see Everitt go up against the club he spent 15 years with between 2007 and 2022, including a stint as head coach. He had a brief spell working with the Bulls last season before joining Edinburgh in the summer and played down the significance of going back to the Sharks.

“I was at the Bulls when they played against the Sharks so I’ve had that experience of returning to Kings Park,” he said. “This is about the URC and every game we play between now and the end of the pool stages, and we’ve also got other important games in between in the EPCR. So we treat this game no different to any other game.

“We’ve moved on from there. I was at the Sharks 16-17 months ago, so no ill feelings, I just want to get the job done.”

Last weekend’s 43-21 defeat by the Stormers was a sore one for Everitt and largely “self-inflicted” according to the coach. “The Stormers didn’t have to work hard for the points, so it was a disappointing defensive effort from us,” he said.

He expects Edinburgh to bounce back against the Sharks who lifted themselves off the bottom of the URC with a home triumph over Ulster last week. It was the Durban club’s second league win of the season only but they are a squad rich in talent and have been bolstered by the recent return of South African internationals Eben Etzebeth, Lukhanyo Am and Makazole Mapimpi. Edinburgh should be similarly super-charged for Saturday, with Duhan van der Merwe, Pierre Schoeman, Jamie Ritchie and Ewan Ashman all in line to feature after their involvement with Scotland in the Six Nations.

The game will bring together many of the protagonists from the World Cup pool match between the sides in Marseille last September. The Springboks came out on top that night, winning 18-3 before going on to lift the trophy, and Everitt feels Saturday offers his Scotland players a chance of revenge.

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“Very much so, it’ll be great for them. Scotland were in the game until half-time and doing really well and their set-piece had dominated South Africa. I remember the scrum just before half-time and I’m sure the guys have memories of it. The game turned and that’s what can happen against quality teams. The guys will be relishing the opportunity to play against the same members of the squad again.”

The Sharks are running out of games to make the play-offs but there is a feeling within their squad that they are starting to show their true colours after a lacklustre first half of the campaign.

“They’ll be very disappointed with the season, particularly with the depth they’ve created in the squad,” added Everitt. “I can’t put a finger on what has transpired at the Sharks over the last 12 months, if I can put it that way, but they put it together on Saturday [against Ulster].

“They’ve got several World Cup-winning Springboks within their group. If you look at their backline they’ve got [Aphelele] Fassi who has played for South Africa, they’ve got Mapimpi who has played for South Africa, Eduan Keyter was one of the best players in South Africa two years ago but unfortunately has been injured.

“They’ve got Lukhanyo Am and Francois Venter on the bench who are both Springboks, you’ve got Curwin Bosch on the bench who is a Springbok, two Springbok scrum-halves, Eben [Etzebeth] is back and he’s led the Springboks and brings a lot of leadership to the team. He’s a fierce competitor as we all know and we’ve witnessed that when he’s played for South Africa.

“Then they have a huge amount of experience in the front row with Bongi Mbonambi, Vincent Koch who has just arrived as well as the likes of Ox Nche and Coenie Oosthuizen and all those guys are Springboks. So you do the maths and they have to get it right at some stage with the players they have available.

“Their coach mentioned it was a stepping stone to winning four games in a row so we’ll be up against it on Saturday, we’re under no false illusions.”

Edinburgh will be without Grant Gilchrist due to personal reasons, and Mark Bennett is also out after being concussed against the Stormers. Emiliano Boffelli missed the match in Cape Town due to a back spasm but has shown a slight improvement this week and a decision on his availability will be made closer to the game.



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