Having spent the last nine months out through injury, new Watsonians captain Ben Di Rollo cannot wait for the RBS National League to get under way this weekend.
The stand-off ruptured his Achilles tendon in an RBS Edinburgh Regional Cup match away to Murrayfield Wanderers last year and returned to action for the first time in last Saturday’s pre-season match with Edinburgh Accies.
He said: “It has been a tough time, but I must thank Watsonians physio Keri Holdsworth for helping me through my rehab. I am now excited about leading our new-look squad into this season.
“We have managed to attract some really good players to the club, including Allan Jacobsen, and we have more strength in depth this time around than last year so we hope to be able to challenge at the top of the table.”
In 2012/13, the team won 13 matches in a row in all competitions prior to Christmas. Ten of those were in the league, which helped keep them in the hunt for promotion before injuries and a loss of form saw them slip away at the turn of the year.
With former Scotland prop Jacobsen and hooker Matt Brierley adding bulk to the front row, Watsonians should be well placed to compete up-front in the division.
They have lost key back-rows Harris Grant and Dom Dunnett, as well as second-row Callum Harvey, but Niall Dennis has been impressive in pre-season along with Chris Abram.
Edinburgh Rugby EDP Neil Irvine-Hess, straight out of George Watson’s College, could also be a big player for ’Sonians depending on how often he is released.
Behind the scrum, Matt Page and Ramsay Young will provide competition for scrum-half Brian Walls, while the back three of Rory Steele, who scored 13 tries last term, Ewan Miller and Jack Ferguson will be keen to get their hands on the ball as much as possible. Watsonians host Peebles in their opener on Saturday.
Head coach: Marcus Di Rollo
Captain: Ben Di Rollo
Key man: Rory Steele
Players in: Allan Jacobsen, Matt Brierley, James Forrester, Matt Poole, Neil Irvine-Hess, Chris Abram, Ramsay Young, Matt Page, Ally Ledingham
Players out: Callum Harvey, Dom Dunnett, Harris Grant