Hidalgo-Clyne tells Edinburgh to expect unexpected

Sam Hidalgo-Clyne has amassed 57 points since his breakthrough against London Welsh

Sam Hidalgo-Clyne has amassed 57 points since his breakthrough against London Welsh

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Sam Hidalgo-Clyne is urging Edinburgh Rugby to “expect the unexpected” at Lyon tonight for a European Challenge Cup match that could seal qualification from the pool.

Not surprisingly, all in the Edinburgh camp are focusing primarily on the win that is likely to leave them requiring a single point from their concluding match at home to Bordeaux-Begles on Friday, assuming these Frenchmen do not provide London Welsh with their first success of the season next weekend when those two teams meet.

And the message from scrum-half Hidalgo-Clyne is to repeat the process that has taken Edinburgh to the top of the group unbeaten.

“Lyon play very loosely and with a lot of flair. We’ve got to be wary and expect the unexpected,” he said.

“We must keep alert at all times but overall we should not to look at them too much and concentrate on our own game.

“We got the win here and the guys are now playing well.”

One of the catalysts for the upsurge in Edinburgh’s form has to be 21-year-old Hidalgo-Clyne who, before Lyon’s visit to BT Murrayfield, had only made four professional starts, one of them on the wing.

Subsequently, he has started eight from nine and it was his introduction from off the bench against London Welsh, along with stand off Greig Tonks, that helped turn matters around.

Not only that, but the London Welsh visit was the first occasion when Hidalgo-Clyne’s goal kicking skills were viewed.

He has gone on to register 57 points, including a try, and as well as contributing on the scoreboard and being thrust into the front line, he says he has helped developed confidence.

“If I get a few kicks over early on that really helps my confidence,” he said.

“Kicking was something I did at school then gave up while playing (international) sevens. Now I am doing it again.”

Doesn’t he have enough on his plate as a scrum half in the thick of the action without passing up on possible breathers? “I take my time with the kicks and make sure I take the full minute. It gets me in the game early and at the moment I’m loving it and definitely playing my best rugby.”

With Hidalgo-Clyne being called upon to train with the wider Scotland squad ahead of the Autumn Tests, coach Vern Cotter has, under development, a player whose courage shone through when subjected to some physical treatment as you’d expect for one so young, in the second leg of the 1872 Cup against Glasgow which Edinburgh won.

So, what chance, given his current vein of form, can he expect a call before Cotter unveils his Six Nations group on Tuesday?

“If it comes it is a huge bonus. I’ve always wanted to represent my country and at the start of the season I wasn’t the most experienced scrum half at Edinburgh,” he said.

“I’ve been learning going along, not trying to do everything too fast.

“It’s often a case of biding my time and finding right time to go for a gap when it opens up. It’s a case of keeping calm.”

Edinburgh coach Alan Solomons has long been extolling the abilities of Hidalgo-Clyne with the decision to play him on the wing last season at Newport (where he made one notable try-saving tackle) recognition of all-round talent.

Now Solomons is increasingly able to highlight the player’s durability and composure under pressure.

“He (Sam) is a tough little boy, he is a tough, feisty little guy. He has great genetics, he is a very, very good physical specimen, he really is.

“He has electric pace and is very, very strong. He is all over the place, he is fantastic.”