For the month of March, Edinburgh’s coaching staff nominated their SCRUM Player of the Month candidates based upon performances in training as well as on the pitch, given that there were only two PRO12 matches over that period.
The Edinburgh supporters then voted Ben Toolis their SCRUM Player of the Month, the second-row having impressed despite the club’s struggles on the pitch. Ever the optimist, and with more than a few strong performances of his own, the Scotland player said: “It’s been frustrating for us as a squad because we have been doing a lot of things well and most of the games we’ve lost have been within a score of our opponents, so it’s important to keep positive.”
Edinburgh have struggled in the PRO12 since the turn of the year, a combination of injuries, loss of form and Scotland call-ups contributing to an unwanted run of head-scratching losses. Their salvation this season has often come in the shape of the European Challenge Cup, a competition that has garnered consistent success including home and away wins over English giants Harlequins.
With March having been a sparse month for fixtures, Ben says that the lack of opportunity to rectify those narrow losses did not help: “When you lose, you want to get back out on the pitch as soon as possible; players would play the next day if they could. When you can’t get a result, you need to stick together and try your best to create some confidence.”
Such confidence is something that Toolis possesses as an individual, having enjoyed another good season in the Edinburgh pack, at the same time as being called into Vern Cotter’s final Scotland squad. On where his own game lies, he added: “I’m quite happy with how I’ve been performing and I’ve tried to take on board pointers from the coaching staff about the areas I need to improve in.
“It was frustrating not to get any game time with Scotland but then the position I play in has some much depth at the moment. I just intend to keep going and hopefully keep improving.”
To read the rest of this article, click on our homepage link to the Scottish rugby treasure chest that is issue 93!