De Luca: Debut Year Improved Me

ImageNick De Luca says he is aiming to enjoy another momentous year in the Black and Red of Edinburgh next season and admits he learned a huge amount during his breakthrough debut campaign in the capital.

The 24-year-old rejoined the club last summer after serving his apprenticeship at Edinburgh and proceeded to play a pivotal role in ensuring Andy Robinson's team clinched fourth spot in the table.

His effervescence in midfield led to his first Scotland cap against France during the 2008 RBS 6 Nations and also prompted De Luca to be named in the Magners League Team of the Year.

And the Dumfries-born back says the highs and lows experienced during the 2007/2008 season has made him into a better player and that he is looking to show that over the next nine months.

Nick is in for next season and you can join him in a vibrant, progressive team by signing up for a 2008/2009 Edinburgh Rugby Club season ticket. Call 0131 346 5180 to reserve your place for every second of the action and become part of a team that an inspirational capital can be proud of.

De Luca said: "I"m sure some people will say that the 6 Nations was a negative experience for me. But because it was such a tough time I"ve grown hugely as a player.

"I believe my game has improved ten-fold as a result of that experience and I wouldn't change that for the world. Hopefully if I get another go against the World's best in the Autumn then I"ll be able to prove that.

"I was aware that the Magners League team was being voted for and that was going to be my goal for next season. I was thinking; I would love to be in that having looked at the players that were in it.

'so to be named in the Magners League team of the season a year early was a great honour. It was voted for by the fans and the press of all three countries, so it was a real boost for me to get at the end of the season."

De Luca was one of the unsung heroes during Scotland's Standard Bank trophy win over Argentina in Buenos Aires after coming off the bench for the final seven minutes of the contest.

He said: "I was preparing myself to come on earlier, but as the game went on myself and Rory Lawson understood how the match was panning out.

"We were ahead against Argentina and it was going to be very difficult to throw boys in at that time. So we knew we weren't going to get long.

"When I did finally did get the nod to go on, I had to make sure their big runners didn't make any ground. Thankfully I did my job and managed to get a turnover as well."

As the age old adage would have us believe familiarity breeds contempt, but De Luca acknowledges that his on-field understanding with fellow centre Ben Cairns has improved over the course of the season.

He said: 'this has been the first time we have consistently played together in midfield and I think we"ve got a better understanding.

"Also with Phil Godman there we seem to click very well together. We have to make sure all three of us are on form in order to keep that going; starting with our first friendly game against Wasps.

"We"ll be up against the likes of Riki Flutey, who is big news down there, and we need to make sure we start brightly."