Henry Immelman aims to bring versatility to Edinburgh backline after being taken by surprise by change of coach

Henry Immelman has joined Edinburgh after five seasons at Montpellier. Picture: Ross MacDonald/SNSHenry Immelman has joined Edinburgh after five seasons at Montpellier. Picture: Ross MacDonald/SNS
Henry Immelman has joined Edinburgh after five seasons at Montpellier. Picture: Ross MacDonald/SNS
Having swapped the south of France for Edinburgh, Henry Immelman admits to being taken by surprise by Scotland’s balmy September.

The capital club’s latest South African recruit is used to playing with the sun on his back after a five-year stint at Montpellier and is thoroughly enjoying the Indian summer.

He may need to adapt when the weather turns chilly but versatility comes naturally to the 26-year-old.

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Ostensibly a full-back, Immelman is also keen to offer his services in the centre and on the wing as he looks to force his way into Edinburgh’s starting XV for the new United Rugby Championship which kicks off in three weeks’ time.

Signed by Richard Cockerill, the player now has to try to impress Mike Blair after the former Scotland captain replaced the Englishman as head coach in July.

“I was definitely surprised when that happened,” admitted Immelman. “But at the moment I’m really enjoying our new coach Mike so far. He’s a really great coach and brings an interesting new plan for rugby here in Edinburgh. But it’s definitely up for us to play rugby with precision and no anxiety.

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“I’ve played more full-back in my career so far but I wouldn’t mind if I can get a crack at centre or maybe wing, because I know it’s a long season and there will be a lot of injuries. So I’ll just be ready wherever the coach wants me. But if I was to say I had one position it would be full-back.

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“I’ve spoken to Mike about that. He also said to me that he’d seen my highlights and he definitely thinks that I’m an all-round backline player, that maybe I can play full-back and cover centre if there’s an injury. He gave me some tips and ideas around what he wants from me.”

Edinburgh’s large South African contingent have helped Immelman settle in quickly - he has played previously alongside Luan de Bruin and Boan Venter - and the weather has also helped.

“I’ve been here for a month now and it’s been hotter at the moment than I expected,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed my time here so far. I had no idea that summer here would last so long. The weather has been superb, especially for training.”

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