Jon Petrie must have been the busiest man at Murrayfield over recent weeks. Since the first OTOTM depth chart for Edinburgh another 11 players have signed up for next season with the capital club.
Here’s the official On Top Of The Moon depth chart for Edinburgh 2015/16 season (click for large version):
And here is that same depth chart only including the players confirmed as contracted for the 2016/17 season (click for large version):
Out of contract players whose status has yet to be confirmed:
- Prop: Grant Shiells
- Lock: Alex Toolis
- Centre: Andries Strauss
- Back 3: Otulea Katoa, Dougie Fife, Jack Cuthbert, Nick McLennan
With 36 players signed up for next season there could be as many as 9 more to be added. The main gaps in the squad appear to be:
There is some talent among the academy props and the only way to find out for sure if they’ve got the right stuff is to give them some minutes. These guys should be ideal then for the 4th prop slots on each side of the scrum, providing cover / depth. With Willem Nel’s Test duties, Simon Berghan surely needs a more experienced backup / competition during the international windows?
Like Ollie Atkins before him, Alex Toolis is surely too good to stick around as a 5th choice lock playing 200/300 minutes for Edinburgh? That being the case there may be a depth issue here for Alan Solomons’ men, depending on whether Grant Gilchrist’s luck changes and how ready Lewis Carmichael is to step up.
Edinburgh will have a talented group available next season but with CDP and John Hardie likely to have Scotland duties another experience head to join Nasi Manu and guide the kids through the tough matches would definitely not go amiss. Ally Miller looks ready to step up to a pro contract and add depth to the squad.
Edinburgh need a backup for Duncan Weir. Someone with plenty of experience and who knows the Pro 12. No international commitments so he can be around for the full season. Goal kicking would be useful. And it would be good to get the player on an extended trial to see if he fit in well. Now if only there was someone out there who fit those criteria…
Depending on Sasa Tofilea’s work permit situation, Edinburgh could be set in midfield with some good variety and 2 very promising academy centres coming through to add to the competition. There’s always room for a really high-quality signing though and with the Stormers’ Huw Jones being linked to a move to Scotland the question becomes whether his likely destination would be on the East coast or the West.
Similar to Glasgow, Edinburgh find themselves in a position where there are a number of back 3 players with unresolved contract situations and this looks like being the area of the squad with the highest turnover. Ben Robbins has bags of pace but also a good rugby brain and will surely step up from the academy to get some game time next season – possibly on a pro contract. Ruairi Howarth could provide depth at 15. This could be the area for a big name signing though, with Sean Maitland potentially available or a look to Super Rugby or the 7s circuit to find someone to give the Edinburgh backline some real x-factor.
Credit to Wottie and zt1903 on the Edinburgh Rugby Supporters Forum for their work on the list of out of contract players and squad for next season – the depth chart is simply intended as a visualisation of their research.