Edinburgh’s Beard is growing with every minute

Sam Beard. Picture: SNS
Sam Beard. Picture: SNS
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Edinburgh Rugby centre Sam Beard believes a regular run in the team has helped him hit form and he is hopeful of continuing the good run when Lyon come calling at BT Murrayfield on Friday night.

The 24-year-old centre arrived too late in the day at the club last season to be involved in the Heineken Cup squad, so last weekend’s win at Bordeaux-Bègles was his first ever taste of European action.

Reflecting on the 15-13 win at the Stade André Moga in the European Rugby Challenge Cup Pool 4 opener, Beard said: “We had a long journey to get to France last Thursday, but once we got there and did the captain’s run we were all feeling fresh.

“After the win against the Dragons in the PRO12 the week before, we wanted to build momentum and to go away and win in France was something pretty special.

“We were 3-0 down at half-time, but Dougie Fife got us a good try just a few minutes after the break and that gave us heart. We then went 13-5 behind, but did not panic and to fight back and win showed that the boys have a bit of confidence now.”

So far this term Beard, pictured, has started five matches for Edinburgh Rugby at outside centre, one on the wing and he also came off the bench in the league loss at the Ospreys.

He is happy playing wherever he is required, but enjoys wearing 13 and believes his regular link-up with Andries Strauss in the centre has been improving game by game.

“I think all rugby players benefit from being involved regularly and in the same position. I have been pleased to start at outside centre a number of times so far. Andries is an intelligent player so he is easy to play alongside while Phil [Burleigh] and Tommy [Heathcote] are both good stand-offs and we have all built up quite a good understanding in the midfield,” he explained.

Having joined Edinburgh Rugby from Bay of Plenty in October last year, Beard was in and out of the team last term, but a year on feels very settled in the Capital and knows the team has a lot of potential.

He stated: “I really like Edinburgh, it is a great place to live and everyone has made me feel really welcome. The buildings and the history of the city is really great and there is so much to see and do.

“Being settled has made me really enjoy my rugby and we have talked a lot this week about building on the Bordeaux result with another victory against Lyon.

“We know it won’t be easy because they started off with a win over London Welsh, but we enjoy playing at home and we are feeling good.”

Meanwhile, Beard was delighted to see six of his club team-mates – Grant Gilchrist, Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford, Dougie Fife, Tom Heathcote and Tim Visser – named in the Scotland squad this week while Allan Dell and Hamish Watson will also train with the national team in the coming weeks.

He reserved special praise for fellow 24-year-old Gilchrist who has been named captain, with Beard stating: “Grant is a great leader and he is always talking to us on the pitch and I am sure he will do a great job with Scotland.

“He is usually our vice-captain, but with Mike Coman now injured, he may well be leading us into the Lyon match and when he talks the guys all listen. We are all behind him and I am really enjoying the team spirit we have built up.”