Chris PATERSON today sent Edinburgh Rugby fans the best pre-Christmas message by insisting he still has fields to conquer with the club.
The 33-year-old utility back, who has retired from international rugby after 109 caps, sees his Edinburgh deal run out at the end of this season. However today he insisted: “I have the option of a further year with Edinburgh. I could carry on.”
Paterson is still commanding a place at Edinburgh even though his goal-kicking responsibility is largely in the capable hands of Greig Laidlaw nowadays. His experience however is invaluable in terms of helping develop a rich crop of talent.
He added: “This Edinburgh side is exciting. A lot of Edinburgh teams I have played in have been exciting but this one is getting more consistent.” On the youngsters breaking through, he said: “Grant Gilchrist has done particularly well and Dave Denton is outstanding having shown he is ready for international rugby. Stuart McInally is another forward playing really well.
“Among the backs there’s Gregor Hunter and Matt Scott while I think Lee Jones is a fantastic player.
“As for Greig Laidlaw, he has been outstanding for the past two years and maybe all that talent is what makes room for an old man like me!”
Despite beating England three times at Murrayfield Paterson never achieved any kind of win at Twickenham.
“I even played there for the Northern Hemisphere against the Southern Hemisphere in a match for the Tsunami Fund and said to Irish stand off Dave Humphreys running on that this would be a good opportunity to get a win at the home of English rugby but, alas, it wasn’t to be.”
However, Edinburgh are on a roll in the Heineken European Cup and the final is to be played at ... Twickenham.
If Paterson is daring to dream he has never been prone to hyperbole but his admiration for the present Edinburgh side is clear.
“We’ve grown to the point where we feel we can win wherever we play.
“A decision on whether I play on next season will be taken between now and May,” he says.