There have been some fairly significant changes to Edinburgh’s personnel since the start of last season. With that in mind On Top Of The Moon takes a look at the core of the black and red squad for 2016/17 and how it compares to 2015/16.
Here is the official On Top Of The Moon depth chart top 30 for Edinburgh (click for large version):
There has been absolutely no movement in Edinburgh’s first choice pack as they have retained the services of a frontline 8 that should probably (in theory) be the best in the league. Behind them the changes have really seen backup players from last season – Jamie Ritchie, Magnus Bradbury and Simon Berghan step up to the understudy’s role. Jamie and Magnus both got plenty of game time during the last campaign, due to injuries and the early exit of David Denton, and both have shown massive potential. Simon’s minutes were more limited and this will be a huge season for him to show he can fill WP Nel’s boots to an adequate standard when coming off the bench and during international windows. Today has seen one final piece of business done – gold medal winner Viliame Mata has signed on with the capital club (subject to medical and visa). The Fijian plays lock or back row – depth-wise playing at flanker looks like the most logical place for him to make a contribution and would take some of the pressure off Ritchie and Bradbury. OTOTM will revisit the 7s star’s place in the pecking order once he has settled in at the club.
It’s in the backline where the major surgery has taken place. Only Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (although even here SHC will need to recover some form to hold on to the 9 jersey) and Damien Hoyland are likely to continue as first choices in their position with Phil Burleigh reverting to inside centre and the remainder of the backs comprising new signings. Duncan Weir, Glenn Bryce and Rory Scholes all have previous Pro 12 experience and Solomoni Rasolea has joined from Super Rugby’s Western Force so it’s clear that coach Alan Solomons is looking for backs who come ready to play and will want them to make an instant impact. Ex-Dragons 10 Jason Tovey is from the same mould with Sasa Tofilau, formerly of Kirkcaldy RFC the only one of the six new signings who might be seen as a bit of a bolter as a relatively unknown quantity – but possibly with a big upside if he can be developed well.
Once the Scottish Rugby Academy Stage 3 players have been confirmed for 2016/17 OTOTM will take a look at the full depth chart for Edinburgh and consider how the squad is shaping up for the current campaign.