Scott On New Season And Fresh Chances

ImageScott Newlands admits he is aiming to use the experience he picked up during his involvement in the Barclays Churchill Cup to help establish himself in Edinburgh's back row during the 2008/2009 campaign.

After joining the Black and Red Army last summer, Newlands made his debut against the Ospreys at The Castle in October.

But the 22-year-old, who celebrates his birthday at the end of the month, found it difficult to find any further first team outings until the 1872 Cup match at Glasgow in April.

Nevertheless the Kelso-born flanker says he is optimistic about making the breakthrough during the forthcoming campaign; after enjoying a productive tour to North America with Scotland "A" last month.

Scott is in for next season and you can join him in a vibrant, developing team by signing up for an Edinburgh Rugby Club season ticket. To reserve your place for what promises to be a memorable campaign please call 0131 346 5180.

Newlands said: "I thought the Churchill Cup was a positive experience and I was pleased to get some game-time.

"Unfortunately I didn't get as much game-time as I would have liked at Edinburgh last season, but hopefully that will be different this year.

"If I get a chance to show what I can do during the pre-season games then hopefully I can put pressure on the first team regulars and earn a place in the starting line-up."

With Scotland internationals Allister Hogg, David Callam and Ross Rennie all on Edinburgh's books and Scotland "A" openside Alan MacDonald also challenging for game-time, Newlands acknowledges that securing a first team berth will be an arduous task.

He added: 'the competition is really strong and with guys like Simon Taylor and Jason White playing outside of Scotland, it frees up some space back home for younger guys to come through.

"It is obviously pretty strong at the moment and traditionally Scotland always seems to produce a lot of talented back row players. So I"m used to fighting for my place, but at the moment it is difficult.

"It is tough to push your way into the back-row at Edinburgh, but I think I"ve got the game for it. It is just about getting an opportunity."

Last season, Newlands went away to perform on the IRB Sevens circuit and he says he found the experience to be beneficial.

He said: 'the experience with the Sevens was good because it gave me some game-time while I wasn't playing for Edinburgh.

"Although I wouldn't say it acted as a springboard for me when I got back to Edinburgh. There are skills that are transferable from Sevens to 15-a-side rugby, but I don't think coaches particularly look at your form in Sevens and pick you from that.

"I think you"ve got to really show what you can do at 15-a-side rugby before you make that transition.

"It was good to see Greig (Laidlaw) get his chance after playing for the Sevens and at the same time it was good for me to sharpen my skills when I was called upon for the last five games of the season.

"I felt then I could cope with the intensity of rugby that was being played."

Newlands shrugged off the idea that, like Matt Mustchin, he could transform from being a back rower to a lock forward and believes he is best suited to the role of blindside flanker.

He said: "I think blindside flanker is my best position. I don't mind playing at No8, but six is probably my best position.

"I can't see myself doing the same thing as Chops (Mustchin); at least not until I"m 30."