Edinburgh scrum-half Nathan Fowles believes tight bonds off the field and players taking more responsibility for what happens on it will help drive the club to a more positive season this term.
The Capital side slumped to a highly-disappointing ninth-place finish in the Guinness PRO12 after topping the table earlier in the season and the pressure is on Alan Solomons and his squad to up their game. They get their campaign underway with a trip to Cardiff tomorrow week and get their first hit out on the field this evening when they face Sale Sharks in a pre-season friendly at Heywood Park (7pm).
Rochdale lad Fowles, 23, who is returning home to his first club tonight, said: “This is the tightest-knit bunch of lads I’ve ever been involved with. As far as off the field goes, we meet on Tuesday night and go out for dinner in different groups. At the end of the season, we have the players and partners’ dinner when we sit down as a group and have a big meal together. We get dressed up and enjoy each other’s company and I think that’s important.”
Fowles came through the Sale academy and, while he is looking forward to a bit of a homecoming, his heart belongs to Edinburgh now after he joined in 2015, initially on loan.
He is Scottish-qualified through a grandparent and is hoping for more game time this season after finding himself third choice for the No.9 jersey behind Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and Sean Kennedy.
“I relish it and I think the other two lads do as well,” said Fowles. “We are a great mates off the pitch, but there is obviously that battle for the position. Alan has told us that we will be picked on form and, at the end of last season, he kept his word on that. As soon as I get my opportunity, I will be looking to take it.”