Harry Leonard keen to lead Edinburgh to Welsh double

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IT SEEMS strange that Harry Leonard’s “reward” for equalling an Edinburgh Rugby record should have seen him spend the next 12 matches missing out on the starting line-up.

Back in mid-October last year’s Scotland Under-20 captain slotted seven penalties in a feat previously achieved only by Chris Paterson as Edinburgh went down by a point at home to Scarlets.

But such are the vagaries of the rotational system and the presence of Greig Laidlaw, then Scotland’s No.1 in the same stand off position before reverting back to scrum half, that Leonard has had to wait patiently for another start.

That chance comes tonight with Edinburgh attempting a rare double at Ospreys whom they earlier defeated 23-13 and Leonard can’t wait.

“I knew opportunities were going to be limited with no Under-20 games for me any longer and it has been frustrating.

“We can take confidence that we have beaten Ospreys before and there no reason why we can’t beat them again,” he says.

With Edinburgh playing only for pride, coach Michael Bradley has given youth a fling among them Hamish Watson who, after seven appearances from off the bench, finally gets a start.

”The longest run I’ve had at this level was 62 minutes away to Ulster last year and playing at Ravenhill was pretty good experience.

“If we could win one of the next two games we having coming up in Wales that would be big for us,” says the open side flanker who has spent much of the season with Edinburgh Accies. An Edinburgh win would be their first double over Ospreys for four years and while these Welshmen have only had a single win in six matches in all competitions it was over league leaders Ulster.

Also they are unbeaten in their last half-dozen home league games but coach Bradley is convinced the time is right to unleash young guns, especially Leonard and Watson.

“Harry has always maintained a very positive attitude while Hamish deserves a start.

“He is one of those young lads coming through and forwards takes a wee bit longer.

“Ospreys play a lot of rugby and like us try to put pace on the ball so being a No. 7 will get plenty to do.

“When we beat Ospreys at Murrayfield it was probably our best performance of this season.”

Edinburgh: Tonks, Fife, De Luca, Atiga, Jones, Leonard, Rees, Yapp, Lawrie, Nel, Parker, Cox, captain, McInally, Talei, Watson. Subs: Titterrrell, Jacobsen, Allan, McAlpine, Leck, Francis, Cairns, Brown.