Edinburgh assistant coach Duncan Hodge believes axed skipper Magnus Bradbury is ready to prove on the field of play that he has put his recent indiscretion behind him.
The 22-year-old was stripped of the captaincy and replaced by lock Fraser McKenzie after knocking himself out during a night on the town, but is now back in the fold and in line to make his return against Ospreys on Saturday.
Attack coach Hodge, who led the team after Alan Solomons’ departure last season before reverting to his old role upon the arrival of Richard Cockerill, believes Bradbury has put the lapse in judgment behind him.
“Yeah, I think the true measure is what we see in training and on the pitch,” said Hodge. “It’s difficult for the club and for Magnus. Everyone’s got to move on. His value to the club is on the pitch.
“He’s gutted about the whole thing as well. It’s not a great situation for anyone and he just wants to get on and play and contribute – help his team-mates, help the club, and make up for lost time.”
Bradbury was told to stay away from the club until Cockerill made his decision on the sanction and had to stew on the incident, but is now in full training and focusing on the visit of the Welsh side.
“He has to find ways mentally to get on with it,” said Hodge. “It is great for him to be back involved in training, be one of the team again. For a couple of weeks there medically, and for whatever reason, he was not around and it is hard when you are in isolation. Now he is back and can contribute on the training pitch and on the Saturday as well.
“It is water under the bridge. We have a massive game on Saturday.”
Hodge was unsure how the past few weeks had affected the player, who has two caps but not been included in the 36-man autumn Tests squad.
“You’d have to ask him,” said the former Scotland stand-off. “But I think he is at the point of getting his head down, get training and focus on Saturday. That is his biggest thing.
“The captaincy thing, when you have been out and not able to contribute for three or four weeks you just want to muck in and train and play and help your team that way. His first port of call is to get his head down and just train then play.”
Hodge had nothing to report on the disciplinary matter regarding suspended flanker John Hardie, which is ongoing.
With Hardie on the outer, Hamish Watson is the outstanding openside at the club but is probably being lined up for the dark blue No.7 jersey. Jamie Ritchie is also with the national squad but could be released back, with Luke Crosbie and Ally Miller other options.
Hodge revealed that they would have a better idea today who is going to be available to them at the weekend.
“It makes early parts of the week difficult,” said the coach. “We’ve got a big chunk of guys away training with Scotland today and yesterday – that makes it difficult. Being a Saturday game is slightly more helpful, because anyone we do get back, we’re going to get them Thursday, Friday for training.
“It’s never easy. But Ospreys are the same and we kind of know how to deal with it. It’s fine.”
Edinburgh will be looking to make it five wins in a row against a side who have had a bit of a shocker at the start of the season, losing seven out of their nine games in the Pro14 and Europe with only wins against Zebre and Dragons to their name.
“Every week there’s still loads to work on, but some things are getting better and more consistent,” said Hodge of his team. “Certainly from the weekend [in the win at Benetton in Italy] we struggled a bit in the first half set-piece-wise; decision-making was good and some good attack, so there was loads of good stuff in there.
“We scored three tries and potentially should have scored more – we had one chalked off when he should have maybe gone to the TMO, and at the end we missed two chances for the bonus point. That was a big disappointment for us.
“On the flip side, we managed to stop them getting one right at the end. For them not to get a bonus point ... they’re a decent side. It was a good win.”