Edinburgh coach Alan Solomons has tipped rejuvenated flanker Hamish Watson to eventually crown his revival with a Scotland cap.
Watson was out of favour for much of last season but has been a revelation so far this term. Asked specifically about the potential of another back row prospect, Magnus Bradbury, the coach could not resist name-checking the 19-year-old along with fellow teenager Jamie Ritchie and 23-year-old Watson, saying: “Jamie, Hamish and Magnus, in the long term, have every prospect of being the loose (forward) trio for Scotland.”
Another find this season has been John Andress, widely regarded as a journeyman prop when he arrived over the summer from Ulster via Exeter, Harlequins and Worcester but very much the lynchpin of last week’s win in Munster.
Solomons, if he felt vindicated in the wake of some criticism at the signing, typically contented himself by saying of the player he signed on a youth deal when Ulster coach: “I’ve mentored John over the years. He’s a very good scrummager.”
Andress’ fellow prop Ally Dickinson went further, saying: “John is very experienced, I played against John a couple of times in the (English) Premiership.
“His attitude is good and he has a great work ethic. On top of that he is very mobile for a tight head. It adds another dimension to the pack.
“You can’t have too few tight heads in a squad and its great we have that quality.”
Another tight head expected to come off the bench tonight against Connacht is Willem Nel and it is likely he will have had a flea in his ear after a sin-binning last week gave Munster a last-gap chance to snatch a victory that would have been ill-deserved. Fortunately for Edinburgh, Ian Keatley’s penalty missed and Solomons was forced to admit of Nel’s technical indiscretion: “It was a bit silly.”
Solomons’ is wary, too, of reading anything into the fact Edinburgh’s biggest win last season – 43-10 – was in this corresponding fixture. “That scoreline flattered us a bit as a couple of our scores came in the last ten minutes.”