Boroughmuir winger Grant McConnell is relishing a swift return to the national stadium, where he was one of the try scorers in the 55-17 rout of Hawick in the BT Scottish Cup final back in April.
The Meggetland men will take on Capital rivals and Premiership champions Heriot’s in the second BT Charity Shield, which this year will be a curtain-raiser to the World Cup warm-up Test against Italy at BT Murrayfield on Saturday, August 29.
McConnell was back on the hallowed turf yesterday to promote the game and help draw the first rounds of the 2015-16 BT Cup and Sarah Beaney Cup. He said: “It was so good to run out here for the final and get such a special win. Just playing here at Murrayfield was special, never mind the result. It will be amazing to be back here for the Charity Shield in front of a big crowd before the Scotland game.”
The match will kick-off at 11.45am with the international at 3.15pm. Only one ticket is required for both matches with prices starting at £5 for under-18s, £15 for adults and under-12s go free.
A charity is still to be decided for the event. Last year Heriot’s beat Melrose 36-28 in aid of Breast Cancer Care at The Greenyards following a pre-season friendly between Edinburgh and Leicester.
Heriot’s skipper Jack Turley is looking forward to carrying on the feelgood factor from the club’s dream 125th anniversary season and said: “It’s been a great year for the club. Now it’s time to reflect and have a bit of time for ourselves but pre-season is just around the corner.
“The Charity Shield only started last year but it’s a great idea and will be a good chance for us to see where we are before the season starts. And a chance to play here again in front of a big crowd.”
The one blip in the Heriot’s season was the 6-3 BT Cup semi-final loss at Hawick which denied them a day out at BT Murrayfield. “It was a bit of a hard loss in the semi-final but we’ve moved on from that,” said the 26-year-old lock. “It has added fuel to our fire for next season when we hope to do the double if we can.”
Turley earned a call-up to Edinburgh and started in the Guinness PRO12 match at home to Leinster last October when the pro team were ravaged by injuries and international call-ups. The New Zealander is confident of another strong season from Heriot’s but added: “It’s always so tight. I think it will be the usual suspects up challenging, although all it needs is for a team to click and get a run on and find themselves in the semi-final positions. With the new set-up it opens up the league for everyone to have a go.”
McConnell added: “With the injuries last year it hampered us a bit at the start but we had a good second half of the season and won the cup. Next season we’re looking to carry on that momentum, get back out there and put some early wins on the board.”
•The draw has been made for the first round of the BT Cup.
2015/16 BT Cup first round draw (ties on Saturday, September 26): Perthshire v Edinburgh Accies; Haddington v Dundee HSFP; Dalziel v GHK; Jed-Forest v Orkney; Kirkcaldy v Hillhead Jordanhill; Howe of Fife v Greenock Wanderers; Biggar v Whitecraigs; Irvine v Aberdeenshire; GHA v Aberdeen Grammar Rugby; Livingston v Falkirk; Watsonians v Adrossan Accies; Kelso v Musselburgh; Berwick v Dumfries Saints; Hamilton v Stewart’s Melville FP; Lasswade v Marr; Preston Lodge v West of Scotland; RHC Cougars v East Kilbride; Cartha Queens Park v Peebles.
2015/16 Sarah Beaney Cup first round draw (ties on Sunday, October 4): Morgan Academy FP v Garioch; Annan v Greenock Wanderers; Lismore v Grangemouth; Howe Harlequins v RDVC.