Edinburgh University may have lost the last four Varsity matches against ancient rivals St Andrews but will hope to be “moving on up” to stop the rot off the back of victory in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) championship.
Pivotal to the capital scholars’ hopes will be stand-off James Small-Edwards, who is the son of rugby league legend and current Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards and Heather Small, the singer from popular 1990s dance band M People.
Harrow-educated Small-Edwards is a product of Wasps academy and Edinburgh coach David Adamson said his side will go into the game at BT Murrayfield this evening in good spirits.
“We’re confident after a good season last year,” he said. “We have a big player pool and always go into the game looking for a win.
“We have a strong back-row and an exciting back three so hopefully we can win some quick ball and do something with it.”
The Varsity match has become one of the best attended fixtures in the Scottish rugby calendar, with only Scotland internationals, the Melrose Sevens and a handful of pro games attracting higher attendances. St Andrews coach David Ross said: “We look forward to the challenge of going for five in a row.
“Edinburgh will provide the toughest test we have had this season after they had an excellent run last year. We know that with a home crowd they rightly go into the match as favourites.”
In the women’s match, Edinburgh will go in as firm favourites given that they are undefeated in Varsity matches and had a cracking season last year.
Edinburgh second-row Liusaidh McMaster said: “We are really looking forward to the match and there is a real buzz around the club at the moment. We had around 100 girls at training on Monday and lots of people put their hands up for selection.”
No 8 Sally Stott leads Edinburgh and Rhiannon Fox-Rothwell captains St Andrews.