Groom ready for PRO14 challenge
They say you can’t beat experience and in Nic Groom’s case, ten years of professional rugby experience have brought him from South African’s Western Cape to Scotland’s capital city.
Having joined the club from Super Rugby side Lion this summer – whom Groom skippered in his two years at Emirates Airline Park – the scrum-half has made Edinburgh his new home and joins an already settled group of South African players at the club.
Perhaps Edinburgh’s influx of South African players has helped the 29-year-old settle in a city that is known more for bagpipes than biltong, but for Groom, rugby is rugby, and not a lot changes when you’re all on the same wavelength.
“It’s all been good so far,” he said. “It’s been in a way nice to come in before the games start and really familiarise myself with the boys and how things work: getting used to the way things are run here, how we go about training, that sort of thing.
“I’ve had enough time to get to grips with how we want to play. To me rugby is a real relational game: you get to know the boys in the changing room, that helps on the field too. So, I’m feeling good going into the start of things now.
“I played in the UK before, really enjoyed that – I thought it was a really good challenge for me professionally,” he continued when asked to explain what attracted him to Edinburgh.
“Personally too, I’m always up for an adventure and I like living abroad and what comes with that – playing in a new league, new opportunities, new things to experience. Yeah, at the end of my career I can look back one day and say I’ve played in some great teams, lived in some amazing places and put myself in a position to make some really good memories.”
One memory that tends to stick in any players mind is that of winning and Groom certainly brings a pedigree that would suggest he’s used to being on the right side of the result come 80 minutes.
The scrum-half was a key figure in a Stormers side that challenged in the knockout stages of Super Rugby, while him time at the Northampton Saints saw him help the Franklin’s Gardens club qualify for the Champions Cup.
Yet despite the talented squads that Groom was so often been an integral part of, it is his new teammates at Edinburgh that have impressed him.
“It’s been a real eye-opener to see some of the talent here. It’s amazing: all the Scottish guys are extremely well conditioned. They’re fit, they’re strong.
“In a lot of ways sometimes I feel like we might be holding ourselves back, so hopefully this season we’ll really get guys to express themselves and really gel together. And if we do that, I’m pretty confident we can put ourselves in a great position to do some great things in the competition.”
“I wouldn’t say we’re thinking about where we would like to be after x amount of games or periods of playing – that hasn’t been mentioned at all, and I think that’s the right approach, to be fair. We need to be just really confident in how we play, in what we do, in our processes.
“It’s a word that gets thrown around all the time, but the moment we start thinking about, as a player at least, things like that [ie season plans] – we can’t have that. We leave that up to the coaches.
“We need to just play the best we can play, and that comes down to focusing on what we want to achieve. We can’t think too far ahead of that. I think that would be a big mistake.”
It’s all new for Groom, but quite rightfully the scrum-half is taking it one game at a time, and it starts with Zebre this Saturday.