UPDATED: Magnus Bradbury’s Edinburgh return is confirmed

Emiliano Boffelli could be back to face Cardiff on Saturday, but there is more bad news about Darcy Graham

Magnus Bradbury has re-joined Edinburgh. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Magnus Bradbury has re-joined Edinburgh. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

MAGNUS BRADBURY will return to Edinburgh Rugby this summer after agreeing terms on a two-year deal with the club where he started out on his professional career as an academy graduate back in 2015, before joining Bristol Bears for two seasons where he has made 4o appearances and scored 14 tries to date.

The 28-year-old back-rower –  who was named Bristol Bears Players’ Player of the Season last year and has started all 19 of his club’s matches so far this season – re-joins Edinburgh as more or less a direct replacement for Viliame Mata, who is headed in the opposite direction to Bristol next season.

“Edinburgh is home for me. I love the club, so I’m really excited to return this summer,” said Bradbury, who played 117 games during his first stint with the capital outfit.


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“I’ve really enjoyed my time at Bristol. It’s been a great move for me, and it’s allowed me to grow and develop as a player in a new environment – and we can still achieve great things this season, which I’m fully focused on.

“However, when the opportunity to move back to Edinburgh came about, and with the direction the club is moving in, it felt like unfinished business. I’m relishing the chance to wear the castle on my chest once again and represent a city and supporters that mean so much to me.

“It’s been brilliant to see Edinburgh continue to grow and go from strength to strength. I loved that first season in our new home and it will be an amazing feeling to run out at Hive Stadium, in front of our supporters, once again

“I’ve spoken to Sean Everitt [Edinburgh’s head coach] and I really like his vision for the club. He wants Edinburgh guys leading an Edinburgh team. Hopefully I can continue where I left off and help the club win silverware – that’s what we all want to achieve.”

A product of Oban Lorne, Bradbury finished his schooling at Merchiston Castle School, represented Edinburgh at U18 level and played for the national side at every age-grade. He made his pro debut against Leinster in October 2014 and became a regular in side during the 2016-17 season when he started 21 out of 23 games played.

He made his international debut against Argentina at Murrayfield in November 2016, and scored his team’s third try which turned an unlikely comeback into a real possibility during Scotland’s remarkable 38-38 draw against England at Twickenham in 2019.

Bradbury was a member of the World Cup squad in Japan later that year, but has been stalled on 19 caps since making his last appearance with the thistle on his chest in the 26-18 defeat to Argentina in the first Test of the 2022 summer tour. He was, however, called up to Scotland’s recent Six Nations training squad.

“Magnus is a quality player in his absolute prime,” said Everitt. “He’s been one of Bristol Bears’ most consistent performers this campaign, playing week in week out for a side in top form.

“With Bill [Mata] moving on at the end of the season, it was imperative that we recruited well in that position. Magnus can come in and anchor our pack from the get-go, while his obvious connection and history with the club, and relationship with a lot of players in this squad, means he can slot in seamlessly.

“With Magnus returning, and further exciting signings and re-signings still to be announced, things are shaping up nicely for next season, with our hopes of reaching the URC play-offs and securing Champions Cup rugby still very much in our own hands.”

Edinburgh are in the eighth and final play-off place at present with four regular-season games to go, but they are ahead of three other teams on 39 points only because they have won more games. They are also just two points behind the two sides immediately above them, Stormers and Ospreys.

It is clearly vital, then, that they got as many points as possible from their match at Cardiff on Saturday, and they could receive a timely boost for the trip to the Welsh capital if Emiliano Boffelli is passed fit. The Argentinian full-back has been out since last month after needing an injection to deal with back spasms, but he is back in training and Everitt is hopeful that he can be involved at the weekend.

“We’re hoping that Boff is going to get through today well and we’ll know that for certain tomorrow morning,” the coach said at lunchtime today [Tuesday]. “It’s just how he reacts to the training today. If he does come through well he’ll certainly be considered for selection on the weekend.”

By contrast, Everitt has now resigned himself to being without Darcy Graham for the rest of the season. The Scotland winger suffered a groin injury at the end of February and was expected to be sidelined for three to four months, with the coach expressing the hope that he could return in time for the play-offs. Today, however, Everitt had a less optimistic answer when asked if Graham would be back before end of season.

“No,” he said. “No. He won’t be.”

Meanwhile, Duhan van der Merwe will be able to play against Cardiff despite the light injury he sustained in last week’s win over Scarlets. “Duhan took a knock to his knee,” Everitt added. “It’s a contusion, so it’s a soft-tissue injury, and he’ll be available for selection on Saturday.”


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About David Barnes 3956 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.

15 Comments

  1. Did Gregor sign off on the deal? Bradbury will have to up her game and consistency plus outplay M Fagerson and Dempsey.

  2. Mixed news for me. Whilst Bradbury seems to have advanced in his time at Bristol we need to remember that he is a replacement for Mata who I think is a better player. So whilst it may be good for Bradbury and his Scotland aspirations it’s not so good for Edinburgh. Mata plays pretty much all the time whereas the Scotland squad players are unavailable for large chunks of the season so Edinburgh will get less of Bradbury than they did of Mata. Is this a good outcome for Edinburgh – I don’t think so.
    I did worry that when the SRU unveiled its £10m loss last year that they would target player salaries and offload overseas signings to reduce costs rather than look elsewhere. There is a balance to be struck but if Glasgow and Edinburgh sign returning Scotland players (others have been mentioned) we end up with weaker Pro teams due to their unavailability. We need a few Bill Matas ie high end overseas players per Pro team rather than some of the journeyman that we have had in recent times.

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    • Ross,
      I agree your point about player availability but are you not comforted by the fact that if GT is still the Scotland coach, following HIS post mortem review of the Six Nations, Bradbury’s chances are still likely to be limited or zero if GT’S past stubborn intransigence continues regarding selecting form players ?

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      • Fraser,
        Yes if that were to be the case then he would be available the same as Mata for Edinburgh but if as others suggest he makes the squad then it would be different. We shall see.i would still love it if Edinburgh could still sign a serious overseas player to bring some class to the side but I doubt that will happen.

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    • Some people are just never happy, if Edinburgh pull in a class non-dom, they moan, if they hire a Scot, they moan …

      Bradbury is a class Scottish player, we could all just be happy with that .. !

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      • Exactly. Time people got past the short termism that hasn’t worked anyway. We lost £10 million on our highest ever revenue. We should be focussed on doing what Ireland did and developing domestic talent not wasting money on mercenaries. The obsession with ‘ha ve to buy overseas’ when Murrayfield doesn’t have decent toilet facilities is laughable.

  3. Good signing, he seems to have really come on at Bristol. Interesting watching highlights vs Newcastle; not the toughest opposition but he was showing some nice handling and often popped up on the wing to add some forward heft there as well as being in the middle of a number of malls. As other have said, just needs to keep that consistency and work rate up and sure he’ll force himself into contention for a national starting berth

  4. Some may say Edinburgh have plenty of cover. True to an extent, but to replace Big Bill M we need a rampaging, weighty like for like gain line breaker. Let’s be honest, the back row squad is good but no serious rampaging line breaker at present to fill Matas’ size 16s do we? Maggie is obvious replacement with Premiership hardness. True, we need a cover at 10 and a line breaker in midfield now. Glasgow have 4 first choice 10s, one is bound to come east, so a quick solid line breaker in midfield should shore up the squad for next season. Aki anyone? 🤣🤣🤣 (That’s a joke before someone huffs and puffs 🤣)

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  5. Great player to have back but with limited resources is backrow really where they should be making big signings.

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    • We need physical ball carriers – Take out Mata and who do you have? Maybe Crosbie? Dominant carries factor into quicker ruck speed – leads to faster ball for the 9 – which gives the backs more time (who are being criminally underutilised)

      Edinburgh have the 2nd slowest ruck speed in the URC.

      Glasgow do really well because they have the likes of Dempsey – Fagerson – Vailanu – Cummings – Z.Fagerson to name a few who dominate the collisions.

      In saying their needs to additional investment in the Centres. Last paragraph mentions more exciting signings still to come so hopefully… Hutchinson would be nice and would compliment Healy/Currie , or Johnson to get us some gain line, he was still playing well last i saw of him and a few years at least before retirement.

  6. Agree with Pete D, has always had “everything” to be a top quality international 8, needs to prove it consistently for Edinburgh and Scotland

  7. Moving to Bristol has helped him tremendously by being in a very competitive environment and league – great news on the signing, but he needs to kick on and not settle back into a comfort zone.

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