belfasttelegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Bradley looks to the future

Michael Bradley has named nine players aged 23 or younger in his squad for Edinburgh's clash with Ospreys

Edinburgh Rugby coach Michael Bradley aims to use his last few remaining months in the capital to blood the club's next generation of players.

The Murrayfield boss - who departs in the summer after Scottish Rugby Union bosses decided not to renew his contract - has named nine players aged 23 or younger in his squad for Friday night's RaboDirect PRO12 match against champions Ospreys in Swansea.

A combination of injuries and international call-ups has left Bradley short on experience but he has decided now is the time to put his faith in youth.

Highly-rated 21-year-old flanker Hamish Watson wins his first start for the club after seven appearances off the bench while centre Harry Leonard, 20, is promoted from the bench.

Dougie Fife, 22, Stuart McInally, 22, and Greig Tonks, 23, meantime, keep their places at wing, back-row and full-back.

Bradley said: "A number of PRO12 clubs are tested to the limit at this time of the season, both with the attritional nature of the game in terms of injuries and with players selected to represent their country.

"Edinburgh Rugby has proven to be a fantastic breeding ground for talented young players, many of whom will represent Scotland this weekend, while the team picked to play Ospreys will showcase another group of gifted young players coming through who, with time and experience, will grow into hardened, quality individuals capable of delivering winning performances for this club."

Edinburgh's miserable season continued last week with their 17-16 home defeat to Cardiff Blues. Defeat leaves them third from bottom of the PRO12 standings but Bradley is hopeful of a better result this time.

He said: "We were bitterly disappointed to lose at home to Cardiff last weekend because we created enough opportunities to win the game.

"The fact that we created those chances and have already beaten Ospreys this season are positives we can take into this game, but we must be more clinical with our territory and possession if we're to steal a march on the champions in their own back yard."

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