Edinburgh appoint Ben Vellacott as co-captain

New head coach Sean Everitt says he has yet to decide who will share the role with the scrum-half

Ben Vellacott
Ben Vellacott training at Edinburgh's Hive Stadium. Image: Peter Watt (N50 Sports Photography) .

EDINBURGH coach Sean Everitt has appointed Ben Vellacott as co-captain for the coming season, but says he has yet to decide who will share the leadership duties with the scrum-half. One of the senior players currently away on Rugby World Cup duty will be offered the role, but Everitt wants to discuss the topic with those players first before making a decision.

“From when I arrived here, Ben stood out as a guy that leads from the front,” Everitt said this afternoon (Wednesday). “He’s diligent in his preparation. When he was injured earlier on in the pre-season, he did his homework behind the scenes, was always there to help the team, and delivered some presentations to the team as well on the practices.

“He leads by example. His recovery that he does after training is an example of that. His preparation during the week for training sessions is always top drawer. Those are just a few examples of what Ben can bring, but on the field as well he gives the team direction. He’s experienced, he’s an international rugby player, and the players look up to him for guidance.”

Asked to reveal the identity of the other co-captain, the coach explained: “I haven’t decided who it is. I haven’t had the opportunity to sit down with the international players – I haven’t had a chance to chat to Jamie [Ritchie] or any of the boys as regards captaincy yet, but I know that there are a few candidates that have captained Edinburgh before, and I’ll have discussions with those individuals when they return from the World Cup. We’ll come up with the right candidate.”

It is arguably of little importance whether the role goes to Ritchie, who captained Edinburgh last season as well as being Scotland skipper, to Grant Gilchrist, who has also done the job before, or to another senior international. The fact is that Edinburgh at full strength have leadership in abundance, and by choosing Vellacott – who has one Scotland cap but is some way down the pecking order at present – Everitt is likely to have some continuity in the role when the internationals are away.

“That continuity is very important for us, and that’s exactly why I’ve gone for the co-captain route,” he added. “We’d like to give the team steady and consistent leadership throughout the season, and Ben offers us that. But at the same time we’re hoping that Ben can perform really well and find a place in the Scotland team later on in the season.”

About to enter his third season as an Edinburgh player, Vellacott clearly also hopes to represent his country again, but insisted he had to focus on his club form first. “I’m really ambitious to put on the Scotland jersey, but at the same time there are three really good 9s out there [at the World Cup] at the minute, and last season we didn’t really produce the performances we wanted as a team, which reflects on me personally. I want to put my best foot forward for Edinburgh, and as captain I want to become a real good leader at the club.

“It still hasn’t really sunk in,” he said of his new role. “I was not expecting the news at all, and I was really taken aback when Sean asked me last week. 

“I had just finished breakfast at the club and Sean asked to speak to me. I initially thought ‘Oh no, have I done something wrong?’, and he quickly reassured me there was nothing to worry about.   

“We had a really positive chat around the role, he gave me the opportunity to mull over it, and once I had a good think about it and spoke to a couple of people it was a pretty easy decision. It gives you a lot of confidence when a new coach comes in and makes you captain.”

Vellacott will represent the club in his new capacity for the first time on Friday, when Connacht are the visitors for Edinburgh’s first pre-season friendly. “It’s been a long old pre-season – I think it’s 16 weeks,” he added. “So the boys can’t wait to get out there on Friday night against Connacht and dust off a few cobwebs.”

 

About Stuart Bathgate 1393 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.

1 Comment

  1. Really pleased for Ben Vellacott, he had a tough time at Wasps with injury and then Covid and very unlucky to not have more caps for Scotland when a couple of seasons ago certainly, he was absolutely fizzing for Edinburgh. I’m sure he’ll end up with more than just his one appearance so far, especially if Edinburgh click again under a new coach. A top bloke too and wish him and his partner all the best for the new family.

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