Jamie Ritchie out to right Edinburgh wrongs in Wales return
Edinburgh Rugby's Jamie Ritchie is desperate to get back into action and erase the memory of a disappointing Guinness PRO12 loss away to Newport Gwent Dragons last Sunday.
The 20-year-old flanker emerged with credit for his work at the breakdown in the 27-19 reverse, with three turnovers to his name. However, he was honest in his assessment of the performance, admitting that a team turnover tally of almost 20 – Ollie Griffiths, the Dragons openside had a personal haul of six – was the source of the result which is the latest downward stretch in a rollercoaster season.
“We kind of shot ourselves in the foot at a few points throughout the game, definitely with the amount of turnovers we gave away,” said Ritchie. “You can’t play if you give away that many turnovers.”
He is hoping to be involved again on Friday when the Capital side makes a repeat trip to the principality, this time to face third-placed Ospreys. And, while the thought of another long haul to face Welsh opposition may be less than alluring for some, Ritchie has no such qualms.
“It comes with the nature of the sport and our jobs and where we play. It affects some guys in different ways. Some guys don’t like sitting on buses, sitting on planes, but for me it’s not that big a deal,” he added, insisting that, while stung by the disappointment, the experience of Rodney Parade is now consigned to the past.
“For me, I just try to take every game as it comes. It’s a bit of a cliché but I honestly believe that once the game is done, it’s done and I tend not to dwell on it in terms of the result, more on how I played and the things I need to get better at.”
The objective on Friday will be to bounce back. But, while that will confirm that the latest defeat was another bump on a road that has been littered with potholes this season, Ritchie’s goal is to feature regularly in an Edinburgh side with consistency as a hallmark.
“We don’t want to be known for having a bad week and a good, then a bad week and a good week. We want to be good all the time. We are extremely disappointed with the result we had on Sunday, even though Dragons are not a weak side.”
He has welcomed the changes implemented by acting head coach Duncan Hodge, whose task has involved playing a less structured game and ensuring that all players benefit from the strengths of their team mates. Ritchie explained the mechanics of the skill-sharing exercises, saying, “One of the things that Hodgey has brought in to training is what we call ‘crafts’. It’s basically using your individual skills in your mini units at the end of training. We all take turns in leading up the session with things we want to work on, things that are maybe our strengths over other guys and their strengths over ours. The flankers work together, the number eights, second rows, the backs work together.”
He was filled with admiration for friend and fellow back rower Magnus Bradbury who made his Scotland debut in the autumn test against Argentina. That has offered Ritchie hope that adding full international honours to his age group caps is a realistic ambition.
“I am hugely delighted for him. It just shows what form can do. He’s had a great year and I am really happy. He is one of my best mates. It shows that it is possible and it’s definitely a goal for the future.”
For now though, all he craves is game time, stating, “I just like playing – that’s the be all and end all. I just like being on the pitch, whether that be with a 6, a 7, a 19, 20, or whatever number you want to put on my back.”