Five join elite development roster

Edinburgh Rugby today welcomed five new faces to be aligned to the club through the national elite development programme (EDP) for top young talent.

Elite development players in actionThe set-up (which associates a further 11 players to Glasgow Warriors and three to Scotland 7s) has enjoyed a fruitful relationship with the capital, with Scotland caps Matt Scott and Grant Gilchrist among the recent graduates to earn senior international honours.

Joining the programme this season are Border trio Bruce Dick (Melrose), Ewan McQuillin (prop) and Chris Auld (centre; both Gala) with Auld teaming up with fellow EDPs Jamie Farndale (wing) and Phil Cringle (prop) in the Scotland squad for the IRB Junior World Championships, which start today (Wednesday).

McQuillin’s appointment will be a welcome sight for Scotland's domestic scene, with the 21-year-old tight-head keeping his foot in the door having been brought in as front-row cover at the tail end of last season from Gala RFC.

Talismanic Scotland under-18 duo Magnus Bradbury (number 8) [pictured on the breakaway for Scotland U18] and Neil Irvine-Hess (lock) complete the new quintet from city schools Merchiston Castle School and George Watsons College, with Bradbury brought east on a scholarship from Oban RFC.

Opportunity knocks

Edinburgh Rugby EDP coach Bryan Easson, said: “The players coming in have shown undoubted potential having been highlighted throughout the season by regional academy coaches and in age-grade international rugby.

They now have an excellent opportunity to live as a professional rugby player.

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"It’s not just about coming in and training, it’s about technical and tactical rugby, mental and physical preparation; rest, recovery and nutrition.

“It’s a great chance to work daily with seasoned international players as well as recent graduates like Matt [Scott] and Grant [Gilchrist]. It’s fantastic to think that they were EDPs this time two years ago.

“That’s how quick it can happen but it takes a lot of hard work and commitment to become world class, and that should be the aim of every player on this programme.”

The EDP group is completed by returning scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Heriot’s), who’ll return next month fresh from the Macphail scholarship experience in New Zealand, hooker George Turner (Heriot’s) and Edinburgh Accies pair Alex Allan (prop) and Hamish Watson (back-row), who made three and 10 appearances for the club last season respectively.

Edinburgh Rugby 2013/14 EDP players

Alex Allan (Edinburgh Accies)
Chris Auld (Gala)*
Magnus Bradbury (Boroughmuir)*
Phil Cringle (Heriot’s)
Bruce Dick (Melrose)*
Jamie Farndale (Edinburgh Accies)
Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Heriot’s)
Neil Irvine Hess (Watsonians)*
Ewan McQuillin (Gala)*
George Turner (Heriot’s)
Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Accies)

* = new EDP player