Calder Backs Awards Night

ImageGrand Slam hero Jim Calder congratulated Edinburgh on achieving their best ever finish in the Magners League and says he is proud to be attending the team's end of season dinner on Wednesday evening (14 May 2008).

Edinburgh narrowly missed out on third place in the final standings to Heineken Cup finalists Munster on points difference after winning handsomely at Llanelli Scarlets on Saturday, thus preserving their unbeaten record in Wales over the course of the season.

But Edinburgh still managed to clinch fourth spot " one place higher than their previous best ever finish in the Magners League.

As a result, former Scotland and British and Irish Lions flanker Calder " one of 35 former Edinburgh players attending the event at Murrayfield " praised the impact made by head coach Andy Robinson and highlighted the development of emerging centre Ben Cairns.

Calder said: "It was a great finish for Edinburgh and Andy Robinson has been tremendous.

"I don't actually know him, but looking at the comments from the players they have all clearly learnt a lot from him.

'there has been some real quality coming through this season with the likes of Ben Cairns.

"He was always going to be a good player, but he has really taken to the professional set-up. I think he is just going to get better and better."

Almost two decades ago, Calder lined up for Edinburgh alongside his twin brother Finlay, who later captained both Scotland and the British and Irish Lions, and two other sets of siblings; Scott and Gavin Hastings and Iain, Kenny and David Milne brothers.

Now Calder believes half-back brothers Mike and David Blair have carried that tradition on for Edinburgh.

He said: 'the Blairs are taking the trend forward now, but there was an unusual period when you had the Milnes, Calders and Hastings's all playing for Edinburgh at the same time. There were Johnstons as well, Stuart and David.

"I was one of four brothers who played for Stewart's Melville and there were two Brewster brothers as well and the Scott brothers. On the park there were nine or 10 of the guys covered by only three different families.

"I don't know why it was like that. I suppose ultimately Scotland has a small player base so it is not surprising that so many sets of brothers have played for both Edinburgh and their country. It gives you competition when you are young and it forces you to be a bit better."

Calder will be joined at the event by fellow former Edinburgh players ranging from the 1970s through to current kicking coach Duncan Hodge, who retired from the game last summer.

And the ex-back rower, who scored the try that secured Scotland's 1984 Grand Slam, welcomed the invitation and believes it is important that Edinburgh stays in touch with its amateur roots.

He added: "It is great that Edinburgh Rugby have invited some of the players from yesteryear back to get involved. As a result of the change from the amateur era to the professional, sometimes people forget the comparisons.

"I was speaking to one guy, who played for Edinburgh when it was amateur and he hadn't ever really thought about it as being the same thing.

"It was Edinburgh District in the amateur era and now it is Edinburgh Rugby in the professional set-up. It is easy to think about it as being something totally detached with the games being played at Murrayfield while we used to play at Goldenacre, Inverleith or Myreside.

'so well done to Edinburgh for trying to pull a few tables together; it should be a good event to support."