Dougie Fife starts versus Blues but silence is golden for Edinburgh

Dougie Fife in action during his previous stint at the Edinburgh. Image: Fotosport / David Gibson - www.fotosportuk.photoshelter.com

DOUGIE FIFE, whose 15-a-side professional rugby career seemed to be over when he was discarded by former Edinburgh coach Alan Solomons at the end of the 2015-16 season, has been named on the right wing for the capital outfit in their 2017-18 Pro14 campaign opener away to Cardiff Blues tomorrow evening.

It is not clear at this stage whether new head coach Richard Cockerill would like to bring the 27-year-old, who was on a Scotland 7s squad contract last season, back on board on a permanent basis; or whether his selection is a stop-gap measure due to unavailability of other players in that position.

New signing Durhan van der Merwe (hip) is out until the new year, while Robbie Fruean (knee) and Damian Hoyland (groin) were listed as carrying minor injuries 13 days ago and may not have recovered yet. Meanwhile, 20-year-old Academy graduate Darcy Graham has been released back to his feeder club this weekend, suggesting that Cockerill is not convinced that he is ready yet for competitive professional rugby. Tom Brown came off the bench for Edinburgh in their final pre-season match against Newcastle Falcons last Friday night so would appear to be fit, although it is conceivable that he has picked up a knock.

Unfortunately, nobody from Edinburgh was made available to the press today [Thursday] to talk through team selection, and requests for clarity on some key issues were met with a stony silence. A list of injured players was not issued, and the quote from Cockerill provided in the official press release announcing the team revealed little more than that the squad are looking forward to the match, that they are expecting a tough encounter and that it is on a synthetic pitch so the action might be slightly quicker than usual. All in all, it was a remarkable exhibition of contempt by the club towards their long-suffering fans.

Cockerill has been open, honest and entertaining in his dealings with the press and public since landing in Scotland, which should be regarded as a godsend to the club’s marketing department in their quest to convince a sceptical public that Edinburgh Rugby is a brand worth buying into. But they clearly don’t see it that way.

The official line is that the new training regime introduced by Cockerill has made it impossible for anyone to be available, even for a short phone-call, during the second half of the week. This is curious given that the coach told journalists at this week’s only press briefing on Monday that he was happy to talk through his selections once the team was announced.

New signing Jason Harries will occupy the other touchline on a trip back to his Welsh homeland; Blair Kinghorn is at full-back; and Junior Rasolea, who seemed to spend more time playing for Heriot’s in the BT Premiership than for Edinburgh last season, has been named in the centre.

There is a lot of experience coming off the bench, with Scotland record cap holder Ross Ford, Ben Toolis and Cornell du Preez ready to bolster the pack during the final quarter.

Edinburgh Rugby team to play Cardiff Blues at Cardiff Arms Park on Froday 1st September – Kick-off: 7.35pm – live on BBC Alba –

15. Blair Kinghorn

14. Dougie Fife
13. Chris Dean
12. Junior Rasolea
11. Jason Harries

10. Duncan Weir
9. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne

1. Darryl Marfo
2. Stuart McInally
3. WP Nel
4. Anton Bresler
5. Grant Gilchrist
6. Jamie Ritchie
7. John Hardie
8. Magnus Bradbury CAPTAIN

Replacements –

16. Ross Ford
17. Michele Rizzo
18. Simon Berghan
19. Ben Toolis
20. Cornell du Preez
21. Nathan Fowles
22. Jason Tovey
23. Glenn Bryce

 

 

About David Barnes 3817 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.