MATT Currie has become the latest Edinburgh player to pledge his future to the team, signing his first professional deal after serving in the academy. The team also announced this morning that their former player Mark Robertson is returning as head of strength and conditioning. And they have deregistered the injured Stuart McInally from their Challenge Cup squad for Saturday’s game against London Irish, replacing him with Southern Knights hooker Fraser Renwick.
Currie, still only 20, made his Edinburgh debut last February in the PRO14 match against Munster, and has now made five appearances. A former Scotland Under-20 cap, the centre knows he may have to be patient as he hopes for a regular run in the team, but is convinced he is in the right environment to continue his progress.
“It’s massive for me,” he said. “It’s an opportunity that I’m really excited about. I’ve been in the academy for the past few years and I’ve been around Edinburgh for a while now, so to sign for the club is pretty massive. Myself and all my family are pretty chuffed about it.
“Obviously Covid disrupted a few things,” he continued when asked to assess his progress to date. “I think I’ve been quite lucky to get the odd opportunity in the game. The squad is really strong and it’s in a good place, so it’s a great environment for me to be learning in and developing.
“It’s just about being in that environment and learning and chipping away at my game, looking at my strengths and weaknesses and working out where I can become a better rugby player. When those opportunities come, I just need to grab them with both hands.”
Head coach Mike Blair said: “We’re delighted to see Matt sign his first pro deal with the club. He’s an exciting young talent and he works incredibly hard in training every day to progress and improve his game.
“He’s an impressive young man who has also already shown considerable leadership qualities in his short time with the senior squad.
“It’s brilliant to see guys progress and graduate from the Academy. It’s a testament to the good work that is being done from the ground up at local clubs and schools like Dumfries and Merchiston Castle, and within the FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy.
“Matt is still young, and has a lot of room to grow, however he’s already helping drive competition within his positional group. He’s in a brilliant place to improve his craft, while learning from senior players like Mark Bennett and James Lang.”
Robertson is returning to the team he represented as a winger from 2007 to 2011, and re-joins from Clermont Auvergne, where he has been part of the S&C staff since 2019. A 2016 Olympic silver medallist as part of the Team GB Sevens squad along with current Edinburgh centre Mark Bennett, Robertson said:
“It’s special to be joining a club that I have so many great memories from as a player. I’ve watched from a distance as the club has gone from strength to strength on and off the pitch and I’m delighted to be part of its continued growth as a staff member.
“I’m excited to link up with an energetic and creative group of staff. It’s clear to see they’re creating a unique way of preparing the team and I’m looking forward to adding to this.
“The playing group has a great mix of experienced players playing at the top of their game and highly aspirational youngsters. They’ve already shown they can deliver at the highest level and it’s exciting to know they’ve not yet reached their potential. I can’t wait to get started.”
Meanwhile, EPCR announced that McInally has been deregistered by Edinburgh for this weekend’s round-three match. The hooker was taken off at half-time in the team’s URC win over Cardiff last Saturday after sustaining what Blair said was a shoulder/neck strain, while yesterday assistant coach Stevie Lawrie said that McInally was undergoing assessment on the injury.
As things stand McInally is expected to be available for the start of Scotland’s Six Nations campaign. Although Renwick has replaced him on the list of Edinburgh’s registered players, Dave Cherry and Adam McBurney are likely to be the two hookers named in Saturday’s matchday 23.