Edinburgh Rugby flyers Tom Brown and Lee Jones visited one of the capital’s greatest vantage points today to kick-off the week’s preparations for the start of the RaboDirect PRO12 season, which begins against Munster at Murrayfield Stadium this Saturday night (kick-off 8pm).
The pair put their 12 weeks of pre-season – and an international summer tour for Brown – into a different perspective from the rooftop of the Victorian Outlook Tower of Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, as their focus shifts from physical, mental and tactical conditioning, to the familiarity of a single, match-week objective; to overcome the two-time Heineken Cup champions.
With Jones missing Scotland’s summer tour through injury (shoulder) and Brown playing one half in Scotland's three-Test summer tour, the pair are two of four internationalists to play in the pre-season campaign.
Head coach Michael Bradley rested seven of the club's nine remaining available internationalists for the pre-season matches to blood nine new recruits and give game time to the club’s youngsters.
However, as the competitive campaign looms, Bradley’s selection headache ramps up significantly as David Denton, Ross Ford, club captain Greig Laidlaw, Nick De Luca, Matt Scott, Ross Rennie and top try-scorer Tim Visser, all enter contention for selection.
Considering the competition from the current crop and the tantalising start to the season – with Munster also drawn in Edinburgh Rugby's Heineken Cup group – Brown is happy to be part of that conundrum.
He said: “It’s fantastic to be part of a squad with so much quality across all positions, particularly in the back-three with myself, Lee Jones, Tim Visser and new boys Mike Penn and Greig Tonks making it very difficult to get into the team.
Everyone selected will have to be at their best.
“We’re a confident squad and we’re here to win games for Edinburgh Rugby. To do that against a team like Munster will demand a quality performance from the entire 23-man squad, and we’ll be working exceptionally hard this week in preparation for that match to give ourselves the best opportunity to get our season off to a good start.”
Brown’s own reintroduction came in Friday’s loss to Northampton however, he feels that the hurt from the game will be a prominent theme in this week’s preparation.
“The chance to run through combinations of different players and new moves has been the priority in pre-season training and the games, but it still hurts to lose in an Edinburgh Rugby jersey.
“We’ve a big week of training ahead where a lot of players will be channeling any frustration from the weekend into getting the right performance.”
>> The Edinburgh Rugby v Munster match is the first competitive encounter on the 2012/13 season ticket membership, which covers allof the club's regular RaboDirect PRO12 and Heineken Cup pool matches at Murrayfield from £50 (U18s), £100 (concessions), £180 (adults).
>> Match tickets for Edinburgh Rugby v Munster, Murrayfield Stadium (kick-off 8pm): Adult (£20 by midnight Friday, £25 on the day), Senior Citizen (£12.50), Student (£10), U18 (£5)