IF EDINBURGH Rugby needed a lucky mascot to help them stage a successful run-in to the Rabo Direct Pro 12 then it surely arrived this week in the form of scrum half Sean Kennedy.
Originally attached to Edinburgh as a development player, Kennedy has spent the season so far along the M8 at Glasgow, where, in limited game time, he has managed to share in more wins (five) than the Capital outfit have managed throughout the entire 2012-13 campaign!
What’s more, the 21-year-old’s successes include a triumph over Ulster – tonight’s opponents at Murrayfield – when he came off the bench.
Little wonder a smiling Kennedy, who made seven appearances in total for Glasgow, points out: “Ulster? I’ve a 100 per cent record against them!”
Other league wins have come against Zebre (twice), Dragons and also Northampton in the Heineken European Cup.
Drafting back Kennedy, who was attached to Scotland’s pre-Six Nations training squad alongside his cousin, Grant Gilchrist, has coincided not just with the impending transfer of Welsh Test scrum half Richie Rees to Dragons, but with Edinburgh being put in the hands of interim coaches, Stevie Scott and Duncan Hodge.
Arriving back at Murrayfield at the same time as that coaching duo, he said: “Monday was my first day spent getting to know guys, trying to work out combinations and getting used to playing with each other.
“The buzz at training has been really good, though, and the boys are saying they have noticed a massive difference with fresh coaches coming in.”
Initially on joining Edinburgh, the Alloa and Stirling County-reared Kennedy had eight under-20 caps, but received no opportunity to parade his skills. But he said any frustration has long since dissipated: “When I first learned I was going to Glasgow I was quite happy to think a coach wanted me, but, at the same time, I had wanted to put down a marker in my first season at Edinburgh.
“Looking back it has worked out really well as the experiences I’ve had at Glasgow include one-to-one coaching from [injured Scotland captain and Lion] Chris Cusiter.
“I came through the under-20s with Dunky Weir and Stuart Hogg and that helped me settle, too, as did the encouragement I got from Chris and others. After my debut Chris took me through the video pointing things out. Also, he was taking scrum half sessions when he was injured.
“With Chris, Henry Pyrgos and [Fijian] Nico Matawalu things were always a bit crowded in the scrum half department, there’s no denying that, and although Scotland No.1 Greig Laidlaw is at Edinburgh, the next stage for me is to learn from someone who was among the best players in the recent Six Nations Championship.
“Greig brings different things compared to the other top scrum halves I’ve watched close-up.”
Laidlaw and Kennedy are both sevens internationalists and added the man whose introduction to rugby came at the St Mary’s club, Limerick, while his dad was working in Ireland for a spell: “We came back to Scotland when I was 12, but not before I’d got used to attending Munster matches at Thomond Park and studying Peter Stringer in action.
“All that has helped along with coaching from the likes of Graham Shiel [national academy] and Iain Monaghan [Glasgow elite development squad].
“It was a big surprise to be included in the Scotland Six Nations training squad while knowing realistically I wouldn’t be playing. Nevertheless that could only help my confidence and now I look forward to taking any chance that comes with Edinburgh.”