EDINBURGH flanker John Hardie is acclimatising to the Scottish winter and looking forward to a busy period which could make or break the club’s season.
The New Zealand-born openside, who was a star performer for Scotland at the recent World Cup and has made an immediate impression in the black-and-red of Edinburgh, has been enjoying settling in at BT Murrayfield after joining the club following the national team’s quarter-final exit at the hands of Australia.
Hailing from the southern tip of New Zealand, the 27-year-old is no stranger to a bit of cold, wind and rain, but admits things are a bit different in the Capital than when he first arrived in the summer to join up with Vern Cotter’s training squad after leaving Otago Highlanders. It was long summer nights and pleasant strolls around the sights and sounds of the Festival back then and Hardie said: “When I first came over in July they said it was too good to be true. It was not getting dark until 11pm; now I go to training in the dark and come back in the dark. But I am enjoying it. It is nice and fresh – it wakes you up in the morning.”
That said, the weather in the south-west of France wasn’t much cop last weekend as Edinburgh battled through the rain for a European Challenge Cup win at Agen, but Hardie is embracing it all as part of the learning experience of playing northern hemisphere rugby.
“The weather becomes a factor and you have to be smart and adapt to all kinds of situations,” he said. “It is good if as a rugby player you can adapt to play different styles of rugby.
“That is one thing about being a rugby player, being able to adapt to different scenarios, different weather conditions, and make yourself a better player.”
Hardie was speaking in G lasgow yesterday as Scottish Rugby announced the renewal of its partnership with brewers Tennent Caledonian, for a further three years.
The deal will see Caledonia Best continue in its role as official beer to the Scotland national team, Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors until November 2018. The SRU said: “The agreement marks a significant increase in investment and will take Caledonia Best’s contribution to rugby over the course of the partnership into six figures.”
Caledonia Best has pledged to subsidise travel for over 1000 Glasgow and Edinburgh away fans around the 1872 Scottish Cup derby. Tickets for bus travel to either match (27 December at BT Murrayfield and 2 January at Scotstoun) will be priced at £8.72 and will be on sale via www.eticketing.co.uk/scottishrugby.
Otago-Southland was the big rivalry back home and Hardie is expecting Scottish rugby’s inter-city derby to be high point of an intense period in both the Guinness PRO12 and European Challenge Cup. He said: “I have heard so much about the 1872 Cup and the rivalry. I know what rivalry like that is about from back home so it is really exciting hopefully to be part of it and play against some mates, familiar faces. It is something I’m really look forward to it.
“It is all going to be pretty full-on in the coming weeks; every game is going to be tough. There will be a lot of the squad used and a lot of boys getting opportunities. It will be a great time to showcase yourself and we are looking forward to it.”
The Edinburgh team to face Dragons in the PRO12 at BT Murrayfield tomorrow night will be named today.