The lid has been lifted on “world class” Edinburgh Rugby star Ross Rennie’s shock loan to Bristol just as he was being named in Scotland’s extended squad for the current Six Nations Championship.
Insight comes from Stuart McInally, who left the Capital at the same time and under the same terms to link up with ex-Scotland coach Andy Robinson.
“The reason he (Rennie) is not at Edinburgh at the moment is because he doesn’t fit into the coach’s mould. He wants a big, ball-carrying seven, which Ross isn’t,” said McInally.
In fact, Rennie found his way barred at Edinburgh by Roddy Grant who wasn’t named in Scotland’s squad and who, at 14st 2lb, is nearly a stone and a half lighter than Rennie and just an inch taller.
Nevertheless, McInally says of Rennie: “He will carry the ball, but his game isn’t about bashing players out of the way.
“Ross is one hell of a player – he can do things that not many other number sevens can do. The amount of possession he secures for us is phenomenal. He’s a fantastic player.
“He’s famous for ripping the ball (and) I’ve even asked him, ‘How do you do it?’ I’ve tried to rip the ball like that and I can’t do it – and it’s not as if he’s this big beast in the gym, he just thinks about it a lot.”
“When someone is carrying the ball at him, he will think where they’re weak and then target that area to rip – and it’s very effective and certainly what he’s world-class at.
Obviously there is concern that Bristol might seek to make Rennie’s loan deal permanent when it expires and McInally, who is converting from flanker to hooker, adds: “I know from living with him (Rennie) that he’s really enjoying his time down here – and I think it’s just what he needed.”
• Edinburgh Accies today announced Edinburgh signings Aleki Lutui, Alex Allan, Alex Toolis and Hamish Watson, all forwards, in their starting line-up for Saturday’s re-arranged Premiership match with Heriot’s at Raeburn Place, but No. 8 Callum Reid (eye) is out for a month.