“This is strange”: Ali Price comes to terms with Edinburgh move after debut

After a decade at Scotstoun, the scrum-half was an unfamiliar sight in Edinburgh's strip on Friday night

Ali Price
Ali Price during his Edinburgh debut against the Bulls. Image: © Craig Watson. www.craigwatson.co.uk

ALI PRICE slotted in pretty much perfectly to the Edinburgh side when he came off the bench to make his debut against the Bulls on Friday night. To an extent that was not surprising, because, even though the on-loan scrum-half had only trained with his new team-mates for a few days, he knows many of them well from his involvement with Scotland.

Nevertheless, the sight of the 30-year-old in the jersey of his new team will take some getting used to for everyone who has seen him in a Glasgow Warriors jersey this past decade. And Price himself admitted the whole situation felt a touch unfamiliar.

“This is strange, don’t get me wrong,” Price said following the 31-23 win over the South African side, Edinburgh’s fourth victory in their five URC outings to date. “I’ve been going into Scotstoun for ten years. I never thought that last Monday I would be turning up at Murrayfield to train for Edinburgh or that I would be wearing this kit, to be perfectly honest with you.

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“But here I am. I gave my all over at the Glasgow side of the M8 and I’m excited for this new challenge. It’s something that is good for myself and I’m looking to throw myself into it, enjoy playing my rugby and we’ll see what happens.

“I arrived here last Monday, got settled in and have thoroughly enjoyed my time so far. Sean [Everitt, Edinburgh’s senior coach] spoke to me at the start of the week and asked me if I was good to go, if I was looking to get straight in there.

“I guess that’s me part of the club now and back in the mix. I was keen to get involved straight away, learn my detail on Monday and Tuesday and show what I can contribute, show what I’m all about to the boys and the club. It’s been an enjoyable week.”

When Price’s move was announced, the conventional wisdom was that it was all about what was best for the national team. With two other Scotland internationals, George Horne and Jamie Dobie, also part of the Warriors squad, there was clearly a logjam there – even though that picture has now changed with Dobie’s injury. 

However, if that was indeed the thinking behind the scenes, Price insisted it was not a topic that had been broached by Everitt, Glasgow coach Franco Smith or even national coach Gregor Townsend. “No,” he said when asked if either pro team coach had discussed the national issue. “I don’t think that has any relevance, to be quite honest with you. 

“It’s nobody’s right to be in an international team. Everyone knows you have to play rugby. I wasn’t guaranteed anything: it wasn’t a case of ‘Go here, we’ll play you every week and you’ll get in the [Scotland] squad’. That’s just not true. I was asked, if the opportunity arose, what would I like to do. Gregor didn’t speak to me about it.

“I’ve made this decision for myself, when the opportunity got given to me. Whatever has happened above me or behind the scenes doesn’t concern me. Like everybody else, I have to fight for my place. Given the opportunity, or in the minutes I get given, I’d like to show my value and we’ll go from there.”

Asked if he had had much notice of the offer to move, or if it had come entirely out of the blue, Price continued: “I don’t think that’s important, to be honest with you. I got given the opportunity, or I was asked the question as to whether I would consider it, and I said yes.

“I said I would like to challenge myself and work in a different environment with everything that goes along with that. That was my part – I got asked what I wanted to do and I was happy to come across.”

Price is out of contract at the end of the season. Asked if he expected to play for the Warriors again, he added: “I don’t know the ins and outs of it. So who knows?”

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About Stuart Bathgate 1436 Articles
Stuart has been the rugby correspondent for both The Scotsman and The Herald, and was also The Scotsman’s chief sports writer for 14 years from 2000.