Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons believes that his squad has got through the worst of an injury crisis which threatened to engulf the team just a few short weeks ago.
Edinburgh flew to Milan yesterday then took a 75-mile bus ride to Parma, ahead of facing Guinness Pro12 strugglers Zebre at the Stadio XXV Aprile tomorrow afternoon.
It may have been an arduous trip but Solomons was in good fettle – despite Edinburgh still being without several leading players, including Grant Gilchrist (broken arm), Hamish Watson (knee) and Cornell du Preez, who is set to miss the rest of the season with a leg injury.
Solomons said that the Autumn Tests came at just the right time for other leading players to recover and he is excited about his team’s chances of climbing into the top six of the Pro 12 table, which would qualify them for the Champions Cup next season.
Edinburgh returned to action in fine style last Sunday when they defeated Cardiff Blues at home, and they will fancy their chances against a Zebre side which was hammered 43-3 by Connacht on Friday night.
Edinburgh Rugby secured their second successive victory in the European Rugby Challenge Cup, beating Lyon 25-17 at BT Murrayfield, after numerous injury setbacks and losing five players in the opening quarter.
Coach Alan Solomons afterwards praised the character of his Edinburgh side, who came through adversity to record a morale-boosting victory.
“This actually tops it [last week’s win at Bordeaux]. To lose five players like that – in 37 years, I’ve never seen anything like it – speaks volumes for the strength of character of this side.”
The hosts Ulster secured a bonus point win at Ravenhill on Friday evening as a lacklustre Edinburgh side failed to score any points.
“In the second half we had nine penalties against us and the two tries that killed us came from when Mike was sent off for a yellow card. I thought that [yellow card] was the turning point of the game.
“The final penalty count ended up 14-4 and when you get a penalty count like that and a card, that’s the difference. Having said that, Ulster deserved the win on the night.”
Experienced back row, Mike Coman, will captain Edinburgh this season, with Scotland international lock, Grant Gilchrist as vice captain.
Coman, who turns 27 later this month, said: “It’s a massive honour, we’ve got an exciting team and I’m really looking forward to the season ahead.”
Signing for Edinburgh Rugby during 2013/14 on a two-year deal, Coman is no stranger to the captain’s armband.
Head coach Alan Solomons will start five of his new Edinburgh Rugby recruits in the club’s first pre-season match against Leicester Tigers at The Greenyards tomorrow (23 August, kick-off 14:00 BST, 15:00 SA Time).
With the exclusion of lock Fraser McKenzie – who returns from Newcastle Falcons to start the game alongside Ollie Atkins – four of the five signings will make their debut for the capital club.
Edinburgh Rugby are pleased to announce that Scotland A lock Fraser McKenzie has returned to the club where he began his professional career.
The lock, who can also play on the blind-side, made his Scotland 7s debut in November 2008, represented Scotland A in 2010 and 2011, and was included in the extended Scotland squad for the 2012 RBS 6 Nations.
Moving from Edinburgh Rugby to Sale Sharks in 2011, McKenzie then joined Newcastle Falcons last summer, making a total of 41 English Premiership appearances before earning a move home.
Edinburgh have extended the contracts of trialists Sam Beard and Carl Bezuidenhout.
Beard, who has made 13 appearances since arriving from Bay of Plenty in November, has signed a deal until 2016.
South African Carl Bezuidenhout has penned a contract until 2015.
Edinburgh Rugby have confirmed that nine players will leave the club at the end of the season, at the conclusion of their current contracts.
Among the nine are capped internationalists Lee Jones (Scotland), centre Ben Atiga (All Blacks) and back-row Dimitri Basilaia (Georgia).
When the curtain finally comes down on a long, hard and ultimately disappointing season for Edinburgh tomorrow night, it will surely come as a blessed relief to almost everyone associated with the club.
Coach Alan Solomons has made it abundantly clear that these last run of games have been an exercise in damage limitation. His focus has already moved on to next season, and he has apparently completed the planning and recruitment process (with announcements impending) which he believes will ensure that his troops hit the ground running.
The players are either exhausted after having to adapt during the heat of battle to a whole new way of doing things, or completely demotivated after being brutally apprised of the fact that they are no longer part of the club’s future.
Edinburgh Rugby lock Grant Gilchrist scooped this season’s coach-nominated Player of the Season award at the club’s 2013 / 2014 awards dinner. Roddy Grant, Dougie Fife, Cornell du Preez and Alasdair Dickinson were the other players who were honoured for their contributions this year to Edinburgh Rugby.
Edinburgh Rugby’s vision to build a sustainable club founded on young home grown talent emanating from the academy took a step forward today with the recruitment of three Scots into the senior squad.
Elite development players Hamish Watson (back-row), George Turner (hooker) and Jamie Farndale (wing) have all been awarded extended, senior contracts at the club.
With young Scottish centres Michael Tait, Chris Dean and wing Damien Hoyland also among the coming summer’s new recruits, head coach Alan Solomons believes the foundations of his long-term strategy are beginning to take shape.
Alan Solomons does not believe his Edinburgh side’s season will have been a failure if they fall short in their bid to reach the European Cup.
A 29-22 home defeat by Cardiff Blues dented Edinburgh’s chances of securing the top-six finish needed to reach the new top-flight European competition.
Die Skotse rugbyklub Edinburgh se Suid-Afrikaanse spens raak al hoe voller. ’n Amptelike aankondiging word eers later verwag, maar Alan Solomons (afrigter) het glo ’n sewende Suid-Afrikaner na Edinburgh gelok.
Die slot van die Haaie, Anton Bresler, sal hom glo ná die Super Rugby-reeks by Edinburgh aansluit. Bresler kan hom as plaasvervanger vir die oud-Cheetahs slot, Izak van der Westhuizen, wat op pad terug na Suid-Afrika is, daar aanmeld.
Edinburgh and Scotland centre Nick De Luca will join French Top 14 side Biarritz at the end of the season.
The 30-year-old has made 125 appearances for Edinburgh and won 41 international caps.
One of the advantages of having the national rugby union in control of its clubs was highlighted by today’s announcement by the Scottish Rugby Union of the loan of Edinburgh tight head prop Geoff Cross to Glasgow Warriors for the rest of the season due to injuries to two of Glasgow’s props.
Glasgow Warriors are currently in fifth position on the RaboDirect PRO12 log, 3 points behind the forth placed Ospreys, with two games in hand over the teams above them. This loan arrangement indicates that Glasgow reaching the knockout stages of the PRO12 must be considered priority by the Scottish Rugby Union, and as such they and Edinburgh Rugby need to be applauded for this decision.
Edinburgh Rugby yesterday announced the signing of Scotland 7s and under-20 starlet centre Chris Dean on a two-year deal.
A former pupil of Law Primary School and Edinburgh Academy, Dean lifted the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools’ Cup in three consecutive seasons: in 2009 (under-15) and as under-18 captain in 2010 and 2011.
He has represented Scotland at every age-grade, and skippered Scotland under-17 through the Wellington Festival in 2011, before his development was fast-tracked on a Scotland 7s elite development player (EDP) contract in May 2012.
Edinburgh Rugby confirmed on Tuesday that scrum-half and captain Greig Laidlaw will leave the club to join English Premiership side Gloucester at the end of the season.
Long-serving Edinburgh Rugby duo Ben Cairns and Steven Lawrie have been forced to retire from rugby due to long-term knee injuries.
The news ends the tenure of the long-serving local lads, both capped for Scotland, who will now pursue careers on the other side of the white paint.
Sometimes it seems you have only to say things are going better for events to make you look a fool. Last Saturday I wrote that Edinburgh’s coaches had successfully tightened up their defence, and then their team concedes six tries to Munster.
The Scotland squad came together yesterday with head coach Scott Johnson’s first task being to re-focus minds away from Heineken Cup disappointments and on to a Six Nations Championship.
Edinburgh Rugby forwards Ross Rennie and Stuart McInally will join former Scotland head coach Andy Robinson on loan to Bristol Rugby to the end of the season.
The sound of Afrikaans being spoken among a group of Edinburgh players yesterday fuelled the belief that Murrayfield is taking on a strong South African flavour, but prop Willem Nel emerged from the huddle to insist that the capital side is not losing its Scottish identity.
It is nothing more than a few distant murmurs at the moment, but there are already dissenting voices over the influx of South Africans at Edinburgh.
Alan Solomons, who left the Southern Kings last year to take up a role as head coach at the Scottish outfit, has plundered his home country for talent to help the team based in the Scottish capital back to its feet.
It was speculated here on rugby-talk on Saturday that South African centre Andries Strauss was going to sign up with Edinburgh Rugby. The news was confirmed on Sunday by the club. Strauss has signed up for two and a half seasons, subject to passing the customary medical tests.
Glasgow Warriors make several changes for the New Year’s Day meeting with Edinburgh with Chris Fusaro taking over the captaincy from Chris Cusiter.
Edinburgh Rugby have recruited 2013 Currie Cup (First Division) and Vodacom Cup winning stand-off Carl Bezuidenhout on an extended trial until the end of the season.
The 27 year-old began training with the squad at Murrayfield Stadium this morning (Monday 30 December) two months after the Pumas’ unbeaten Currie Cup First Division triumph, in which he ended the season as tournament top points’ scorer.
Edinburgh Rugby moved up to sixth position on the RaboDirect PRO12 table with their hard fought victory over Leinster (11/6) at a cold, wet and windy Murrayfield on Friday night. This after they have spent much of the PRO12 season languishing near the bottom half of the table. This win followed a good one they achieved the weekend before in their Heineken Cup pool game against Gloucester.
The first round of Heineken Cup 2013/14 matches kick off this weekend in what may be the very last tournament with the European premier club rugby competition going through a much publicised meltdown.
Edinburgh Rugby recorded their first win under new coach, Alan Solomons with a 15-5 victory over Newcastle Falcons in their final warm-up game before the 2013/14 RaboDirect PRO12 season gets under way.
Edinburgh Rugby back-row Stuart McInally has set his sights on the career path travelled by fellow club player, Scotland and British & Irish Lions internationalist Ross Ford – to make the positional switch from back-row to hooker.
Edinburgh Rugby have been very busy on the recruitment front in the closed season following a very disappointing 2012 / 13 season. Numerous players of varying experience have been brought in, with Australasia proving a particularly attractive source region to the club.
Omar Mouneimne has become the latest member of the Southern Kings squad to walk away from the relegated Super Rugby franchise.
Mouneimne, the Kings’ defence coach, has joined Alan Solomons on the Edinburgh coaching panel.
Who remembers the old movie, King Solomon’s mines? Well, The Southern Kings, own Solomons… Alan Solomons, is off to dig for gold elsewhere. We’ve known about it, it has been denied, but still came to pass.
Kings Director of Rugby Alan Solomons will part ways with the Eastern Cape franchise after being appointed head coach of Edinburgh.
Alan Solomons, the Southern Kings Super Rugby coach, has indicated that controvertial looseforward Luke Watson will be the captain when the team makes their Super Rugby debut in 2013.
The Southern Kings may not exactly be the flavour of the month in South Africa, but coach Alan Solomons is forging ahead – determined to make them a competitive Super Rugby outfit in 2013.