Stand-off Simon Hickey reveals Edinburgh Rugby have a plan of attack for the new season

As Edinburgh’s rugby players prepare for a new season, still the better part of two months away, their supporters can expect to see the side starting to move away from their forward orientated approach to a more expansive style.

In part, that is simply the way things have to be, as Edinburgh will see most of their front-line forwards starting at the Rugby World Cup, not in club colours, so the backs are going to have to pick up the pieces. By the time they are back to full strength, the style should be set.

Stand-off Simon Hickey said: “At times [last season], we played some good, exciting footy but we’ve spoken about playing a bit more of an attacking brand of rugby this year.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“That should enable the guys who are already here, as well as some of the new guys – Nic [Groom, scrum half] and Eroni [Sau, wing] – to showcase some of their attacking abilities and play a good brand of rugby, which is fun to play and watch,” added the New Zealander as he prepared for tonight’s charity cricket match against Eastern Knights at The Grange.

Sau, in particular is tipped to add to the X-factor, though there is still uncertainty over his World Cup prospects after the player signed from Perpignan was picked in Fiji’s wider training squad and then featured in two matches against the Maori earlier this month.

Edinburgh backs coach Duncan Hodge added “He is different to the wingers we have. He is very strong, very physical and has played a lot on the Sevens circuit.

“The advantage of him is that he has already had a year playing fifteens [with Perpignan] and is getting more experience playing fifteens with Fiji. Potentially he has some good blocks of fifteens before he comes back to us.”

It will be Hodge’s job to generate that exciting brand of play and he says he is encouraged by what he has seen so far in training.

“A lot of hard work has been done,” he said. “The rugby is just starting to ramp up now but it is obviously disjointed, the season is starting a bit later and we are going to have some boys away but you don’t know who. We are starting to integrate a lot of the young Academy guys in, it is exciting.

“Some of the guys coming in have been straight from school, the likes of Matt Currie, Harry Paterson [both from last season’s Scotland under 18 squad] and these guys.

“They only finished school 10 weeks ago so it is good to see them this week and last.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The sevens guys are in at the moment, ticking over before they go into their program in the future.

“Considering we have guys away, we actually have quite a lot of guys there.”

Edinburgh already have one Fijian in camp, Mesulame Kunavula, a second or back row, but the world cup call on Sau, as with the homegrown Scotland players, will not me made for more than a month.

That poses a dilemma for Hodge and the other coaches. Individually, they want the best for each and every one of the players but 10 of the 
Edinburgh pack are in the Scotland training squad and could all be picked for the World Cup.

Add that Viliame Mata is just about certain a to travel for Fiji and the uncertainty over Sau, and that shows the scale of the problem for the opening weeks of the season.

“As a coach, you want what is best for the individual and it is important they play for Scotland but there are certain positions that have been wiped out in the squad at the moment,” added Hodge.

“Most teams are the same, you look at the Italians and Leinster and these teams and they are all the same, they will have a lot of guys away as well.

“That whole eight to 10 weeks [at the start of the season] is important. You have a block without them and you need to get off to a good start.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Then you have a block when they come back but they will all have had different levels of game time and exposure at the World Cup. You have to try to integrate them when there are new calls and potential new systems. It is a tricky period.”