Stuart McInally reaches out to Edinburgh’s new boys after change of leadership

Edinburgh have a new coach and a new stadium but they are sticking with a tried and trusted formula for the captaincy, with Stuart McInally and Grant Gilchrist retaining the role as co-skippers for the new season.

Grant Gilchrist, left, and Stuart McInally have been announced as Edinburgh's co-captains for the new season. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS
Grant Gilchrist, left, and Stuart McInally have been announced as Edinburgh's co-captains for the new season. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS

They are the club’s longest serving players and also shared the duties in 2016-17 and 2020-21.

What’s different this season is that Edinburgh finally have a home to call their own and McInally and Gilchrist will lead them into a new era at their purpose-built stadium on the back pitches at Murrayfield.

It’s all change at the top too, with Richard Cockerill being replaced by Mike Blair as head coach. The new man is well known to McInally as a former Edinburgh team-mate and he has also come under his wing while Blair was coaching with Scotland, his previous gig.

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A number of key signings were made by Cockerill before he parted company with the club and McInally has been helping the new boys settle in and get to grips with the changes.

“It’s definitely strange if you’re a player who signed on the back of a conversation with Cockers and you turn up on day one and Mike’s the head coach,” said the co-captain. “I reached out to those players to make sure they were all right and not too taken aback by it and to reassure them about Mike.

“Most of us have been around rugby long enough to know coaches come and go – it’s the nature of the sport. But all the boys have been great and are just getting behind Mike.

“It does help having known him for such a long time. I know the standards he expects having been coached by him with Scotland over the past four years. It’s not like it’s someone who’s straight out of playing.

“I’ve very much got a player-coach relationship with him now and I know what he’s looking for from his players. And that’s something I can help with, getting those standards across and letting them know what Mike wants and values.”

The new regime kicks off in earnest for the club on Saturday when they host Newcastle Falcons in the first-ever game at Edinburgh Rugby Stadium in the Scottish Building Society Pre-Season Series.

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