Edinburgh had plenty of news announced this week with Hamish Watson set to undergo shoulder surgery that will keep him out until the end of the season and into the summer – though he should be fully rested for preseason going into a World Cup year. Until the end of term, Edinburgh will have John Hardie to fill the slot (although Jamie Ritchie starts this weekend), but he was one of around sixteen players confirmed by Richard Cockerill who are on the way out next season.
Most of the names were known already but a few, like the Bryce brothers and Neil Cochrane, may have come as a surprise. Here’s the full list:
Kevin Bryce, Glenn Bryce, Neil Cochrane (retirement), Robbie Fruean (injury/retirement), John Hardie, Elliot Millar-Mills, Matt Shields, Cornell du Preez, Jason Harries, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Jordan Lay, Duncan Weir, Jason Tovey, Tom Galbraith, Phil Burleigh, Junior Rasolea.
Glenn Bryce may continue with the Sevens in a like for like swap with Dougie Fife, while Cornell du Preez already has a job in place at Worcester. Cochrane has been a great servant to his hometown club since he appeared from Wasps but for me the biggest losses will be Duncan Weir and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne with Edinburgh still struggling for direction from halfback. A shoutout too to Jason Tovey who did some admirable work in an Edinburgh shirt during his time here.
In his mission to recruit non-International props, Cockers has signed, um, Italian international prop Pietro Ceccarelli on a one year deal. He’s well down the Italy pecking order, apparently and according to reports over on The Offside Line they’ve a gentleman’s agreement he won’t be getting picked for Italy any time soon, so I suppose it sounds ideal all round? He’s also confirmed today a signature from South African Under-20 international prop Pierre Schoeman.
Thoughts of next season will be put aside with the visit of Ulster and here is the team announced:
Edinburgh: Blair Kinghorn, Dougie Fife, Mark Bennett, Phil Burleigh, Duhan Van Der Merwe, Duncan Weir, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne; Jordan Lay, Stuart McInally (capt), Simon Berghan, Ben Toolis, Grant Gilchrist, Magnus Bradbury, Jamie Ritchie, Bill Mata.
Replacements: Neil Cochrane, Rory Sutherland, WP Nel, Lewis Carmichael, Cornell du Preez, Sean Kennedy, Jaco van Der Walt, Chris Dean.
Ulster: C Piutau, L Ludik; D Cave, S McCloskey, J Stockdale; J McPhillips, J Cooney; A Warwick, R Best (Capt), T O’Toole, M Dalton, I Henderson, M Rea, N Timoney, J Deysel;
Replacements: R Herring, T O’Hagan, R Ah You, A O’Connor, S Reidy, D Shanahan, A Curtis, T Bowe.
BT Murrayfield, 7.30pm, coverage on BBC Alba.
A victory this weekend can secure a playoff spot. There’s a phrase you hear a lot of these days: “a year ago Edinburgh wouldn’t have won that”.
A year ago, who would have put money on them making the playoffs? It is so close they can almost taste it….