Edinburgh Rugby give a debut to Hugh Blake

Hugh Blake pictured playing for Melrose. Picture: Gordon Fraser

Hugh Blake pictured playing for Melrose. Picture: Gordon Fraser

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One of the most controversial debuts of Scottish rugby’s professional era will occur tonight when Hugh Blake runs out for Edinburgh against Ospreys at Myreside.

The way 22-year-old was parachuted into the national squad saw the authorities come under attack in some quarters and inevitably the player was caught in some cross-fire.

But Edinburgh coach Alan Solomons believes finally turning out in the PRO12 will put the matter to rest – and provide a chance for the flanker to stake a cap claim.

“Now he is playing this is part of what he needs to manage and I need to assist. Hugh’s focus is on the game. The only thing he can control is his performance on the field,” said Solomons. “I think he is a good footballer. You can see he has come through a good school playing for New Zealand Schools and under-20s as well as being involved with the wider Highlanders squad.

“He has been exposed to very, very good systems.”

Edinburgh skipper Mike Coman added: “He looks really good over the ball, he looks fit. He has some good ability and it is just a matter of buying into our structures. He is keen to impress and you want to go in and back your ability and instincts. A lot of focus is going to be on what we have been doing.”