Edinburgh Rugby head coach Richard Cockerill has revealed he is close to announcing a further three new signings for next season as his revolution at the club continues.
Already signed up for the new-look squad for 2018/19 are Scotland skipper John Barclay, stand-off Simon Hickey and centre Matt Scott – and a trio of other players look set to be following them to the Capital.
Who the extra new faces are will have to wait for another day, though, with Cockerill only saying: “We’ve got some more coming in but we’re not ready to announce them just yet. We’d hope to announce another three signings in the near future.”
When he arrived in the summer, Cockerill felt Edinburgh were soft and often lost matches late on, but the recent last-gasp wins over Leinster and Ulster have showed that the playing group have turned a corner.
Ahead of tonight’s Guinness PRO14 clash with the Dragons at Eugene Cross Park in Ebbw Vale (7.30pm) they sit third in Conference B and are still in with a great chance of securing a play-off spot and Champions Cup rugby for next term.
“We’re building a winning mentality slowly,” Cockerill said. “The players have worked very hard at training, and they are seeing the reward for it in results.
“We have won four games at the death this season – that’s not an accident or a coincidence – it’s because we give ourselves opportunities to still be in the fight.
“We’re missing a lot of good players with Scotland currently as well, so hopefully we can just keep building our strength in depth, and when guys come back from Test duty we can reinforce that belief and make some of the top sides sweat a little bit in the play-off race.
“We’ve got a very tough run in so we’re just trying to get as many points as we can to see where we end up.”
Dougie Fife, who returned to the club for a second stint in the summer after a spell with Scotland Sevens, makes his 100th appearance in the black and red. Mark Bennett is missing, but his knee knock is not serious and he should be back next week.
Edinburgh: 15 Dougie Fife; 14 Jason Harries; 13 James Johnstone; 12 Chris Dean; 11 Duhan van der Merwe; 10 Jaco van der Walt; 9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne; 1 Jordan Lay; 2 Neil Cochrane; 3 Murray McCallum; 4 Fraser McKenzie (c); 5 Lewis Carmichael; 6 Magnus Bradbury; 7 John Hardie; 8 Bill Mata. Subs: 16 Cameron Fenton, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Elliot Millar-Mills, 19 Cornell du Preez, 20 Luke Crosbie, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Junior Rasolea.