Theirs has been a season filled with flashes of great potential interspersed with irritating end results, but Edinburgh Rugby can definitely point to a clutch of excellent performances from their young guns by way of a positive.
Several players have further enhanced their professional experience this season, with the squad often boasting numerous fresh-faced but highly skilled youngsters all keen to have a crack at some of Europe’s finest.
Although still classed by himself as being one of the fresh-faced gang at the club, Jamie Ritchie now has considerable knowledge of top level rugby with Edinburgh, the back-row having featured regularly in recent times.
Some consistent displays led to him being named the SCRUM Player of the Month for February, after which he said: “I’ve been delighted to get the game time I have during the 6 Nations as it’s a real opportunity for guys that aren’t involved with Scotland to put their hands up.
“The results have not been what we have wanted but apart from the Leinster game, we have been in contention to win every time. I think it’s been frustrating because we have been in contention to win these games rather than losing heavily. You see in training how hard these guys work and we’ve shown in glimpses that there’s a lot of talent at the club.”
Jamie’s rugby professional rugby journey is unique in that he came straight into that environment from school, such was the belief in the then Strathallan pupil.
Explaining how he arrived at Edinburgh, Jamie said: “It was a big surprise to be offered a full-time role because although I thought some sort of opportunity would come about to sign an EDP contract, to join the professional ranks straight away was unexpected.”
Since making his Edinburgh bow against Leinster in October 2014, the 20-year-old has honed his skills in and against some lauded company, featuring at both blindside and openside flanker.
On the modern-day difference between the roles, he said: “In terms of my playing style, they’re fairly similar positions to play and it depends on how the coach wants his team to play, but for me it’s about making as many tackles I can and consistently being involved in the game. I think it suits me that a lot of modern teams tend to play with two ‘7’s.”
Irrespective of the number on their backs, loose forwards tend to operate as one cohesive unit these days, which is why Jamie has enjoyed so much game time with his close friend Magnus Bradbury, whom he will be hoping to follow into the Scotland ranks. Having played together for the national under-20 side and of course for Edinburgh, the pair would no doubt feel comfortable combining at any level: “Maggie is one of my best friends at the club and I love playing alongside him.
“I was delighted when he made his Scotland debut [against Argentina in November 2016] and he’s an outstanding player. This is the first year I’ve not been involved with the Scotland under-20s, which feels a bit odd, but having the chance to feature more for Edinburgh shows I’m getting a bit older and means I can concentrate on that.
“We have a few games left this season in the PRO12 that if we can play to our ability, are winnable. And of course the big Challenge Cup quarter-final against La Rochelle is something that everyone at the club is working hard towards.”
‘Keep It SCRUM’ for all the news and views about the 6 Nations tournament – and read SCRUM 92 here
To subscribe for FREE click here