There may be almost two months to go until the BT Premiership kicks off, but Boroughmuir coach Bruce Aitchison is already well advanced with his planning.
Having cruised to the BT National League title the previous year, Muir initially struggled to adjust to the pace of the top flight, a situation not helped by injury problems. However, the Meggetland men subsequently struck form to ensure survival and land silverware in the shape of the BT Cup.
As he seeks to build on that strong climax, Aitchison has used the close-season to strengthen his squad. And the coach is already detecting a positive vibe as the players focus on core fitness.
“Pre-season training has started and there is a very positive buzz around the squad,” said Aitchison, who has been putting his players through their paces at the BT Edinburgh Rugby Academy at Sighthill, which is Muir’s home for July. The return of Alex Cox, Jordan Webster and Rob Cairns from long-term injuries bring almost the same impetus as new signings while Aitchison will also have the services of several emerging talents who will be attached to the Edinburgh Rugby Academy.
Prop Jack Cosgrove – a Scotland age group international – has signed from Worcester Warriors and hooker Jake Kerr has moved across Colinton Road from Watsonians.
Also signed to the Edinburgh Academy is lock Fin Field, who played in Hong Kong – where his family lives – before moving to Oundle School near Peterborough then to Edinburgh University to study Chinese.
Another promising youngster who was out injured for much of last season was flanker Scott Burnside, who has joined Muir from Heriot’s. The medical student is currently in South Africa but will join up with his new colleagues later in July.
Aitchison expects further signings before the start of the league campaign but already has five other confirmed arrivals. Stand off Logan Bonnar has joined from Falkirk, prop Thomas Gracie, a product of Muir’s youth section, returns to the club from Watsonians, and scrum half Andy Watt will also be back in familiar surroundings a spell at Biggar. Dale Robertson makes the switch from Lasswade and Callum Reid, a No.8, joins from Edinburgh Accies. Aitchison has high hopes for Reid, saying: “He is currently playing in New Zealand after spending much of last season out injured. Callum is a previous SRU apprentice with Glasgow and wants to get back into the professional game.”
Meanwhile, the Meggetland club has bid farewell to a clutch of experienced individuals. Scotland sevens international Neil Rodger is taking a year out from rugby, Angus Wallace and Darren Miller are heading for Stewart’s Melville and Watsonians respectively, while Mike Entwhistle and Jonny Latta are experiencing life in Australia. Adam Best has joined the Kowloon club in Hong Kong, Trent Sutton has returned to New Zealand and Graeme Blackhall has signed up with Glasgow Hawks.