Edinburgh have signed another South African in Cheetahs prop Boan Venter, who will join the club as soon as February.
Reports in the South African press have the players’ agent confirming a two-year deal with the capital club. The 23-year-old loosehead was a prime target from the Cheetahs franchise, which has been frozen out of the new PRO14.
Venter was also being linked with Gallagher Premiership clubs but is set to join as soon as February. The Cheetahs are in limbo after the SARU opted to fill places in the new Rainbow Cup competition with their four former Super Rugby franchises, the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers.
With budgets still constrained at the pro clubs due to loss of revenue from the pandemic, Edinburgh made room for Venter by allowing Jamie Bhatti to join Bath with immediate effect last week.
Bhatti’s departure made financial space
While third-choice behind Rory Sutherland and Pierre Schoeman in Richard Cockerill’s depth chart, Bhatti is on Scotland internationalist wages and was part of the international squad for the Autumn Nations Cup.
Schoeman will qualify for Scotland after completing his three-year residency this summer. That potentially leaves only Academy player Sam Grahamslaw as cover.
Meanwhile lock Ben Toolis feels Edinburgh’s victory at Sale in the Heineken Champions Cup is potentially a launch pad for the season, starting with the second 1872 Cup game against Glasgow on January 2.
Measure of their spirit
Edinburgh bounced back from a 12-0 half-time deficit to beat the English Premiership title hopefuls 16-15, and that is a measure of their spirit, believes the Scotland lock.
“Going 12-0 down obviously wasn’t ideal, but it was a really big win, especially the fact we fought back like we had to,” he said.
“We probably should have put some points on the board in the first half. But the spirit we showed to get back into the game was brilliant, then we just kept the scoreboard ticking over.
“Our discipline was really good defensively – we only gave six penalties away – so we can take positives from that.
“We’ll take confidence from that win. Sale are a good team with world-class players and beating them on their own patch was a big thing. Now we want to push on. We’ve got some big games coming up with Glasgow and Zebre and then back into the Champions Cup.”
Edinburgh still with a firm grip on 1872 Cup
Edinburgh’s defeat in the second re-start derby in August was their first to Glasgow at Murrayfield under Richard Cockerill. But it was a well-understrength capital side and nobody’s taking it as an indication that Edinburgh are relinquishing their firm grip on the 1872 Cup in recent years.
“We got an extra couple days round Christmas, but Glasgow is an important game. It is about starting this week with the right attitude,” continued Toolis.
“With the history behind it, we know it will be a very intense match. “We’re all mates off the pitch with the Glasgow boys when we’re in Scotland camp.
“But it is a derby. You always find an extra bit of motivation to play your best game and get the win.
“These games are usually played back-to-back, but we’ve had a few interruptions this season. We’ll try to use the momentum of that Sale game to start well and keep going in the right direction.”