EDINBURGH have announced that Stuart McInally will be their captain for a second successive season, taking up the role when he returns from his current duties as Scotland skipper. Scrum-halves Henry Pyrgos and Nic Groom will be vice-captains.
“Stuart is a fantastic player and a good man,” head coach Richard Cockerill said of the hooker. “He is a greatly respected member of the squad, and that is a testament to the hard work he puts in every day of the week. He is an Edinburgh man [and] is hugely passionate about driving the club in the right direction.
“Henry and Nic will captain the side as Stuart continues at the World Cup. I’ve got every confidence that both guys have the right temperament to lead the squad in his absence.”
McInally was first named as captain jointly with Grant Gilchrist in the 2016-17 season, the last before Cockerill arrived. The new coach initially appointed Magnus Bradbury in his first season at the helm, but after a disciplinary incident in Edinburgh city centre the back-row forward was stripped of the role and lock Fraser McKenzie took over. Cockerill then selected McInally to be sole skipper a year ago.
Pyrgos and Groom, who captained Edinburgh in their recent friendly against Ospreys, look like being engaged in a fierce competition for the No 9 jersey. It remains to be seen if Cockerill opts to name them together in the bulk of matchday squads or decides that his two less experienced scrum-halves, Charlie Shiel and Roan Frostwick, would benefit from some match time.
Speaking last week, Groom said he did not know if he would be offered the captaincy for more than that one-off match against the Welsh side, but acknowledged that his position implied leadership responsibilities. “I can’t tell you, no,” the 29-year-old said. “I like to think playing scrum-half there’s obvious leadership connotations in that role. It was a great honour for the coach to ask me to do it, I’m happy doing it, and if I’m asked to carry on doing it that would be great and I’ll keep doing that.”