Stuart McInally: We're excited to get back
Rugby returns in Scotland tomorrow evening, when Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh go head-to-head at BT Murrayfield in the first of two 1872 Cup games.
Edinburgh captain, Stuart McInally says his team can't wait to get back out on the pitch after almost six months without a professional club match in Scotland.
Speaking on this week's Official Scottish Rugby Podcast, he said: “We’re excited to get back. It’s funny when you think about it, the last time we were involved with rugby was that week of the Guinness Six Nations when it all came to a head and suddenly we were in lockdown.
“We’re all getting tested on a regular basis, so that we know we're good to go. We’ve done four weeks of training, just doing weights and straight-line running. We weren’t allowed to touch a ball whilst there were certain restrictions in place.
“It’s just so different to what we’re used to in terms of how we prepare, obviously we’re not allowed inside BT Murrayfield, everything is outside.
“We’ve had to try and cram a lot of stuff in that the coaches would normally take longer in doing, so it’s felt a lot different to a normal pre-season.
“I’ve enjoyed being back and definitely glad it’s game week again. The boys have been going hard in training so it’s nice to get a bit of normality back, we know what that’s like with Edinburgh, our weeks are pretty structured, so everyone is looking forward to getting out again."
Edinburgh will finish the 2019/20 season with a different squad than the one who started their Guinness PRO14 campaign last September and with a number of games ahead before the new campaign starts, the Edinburgh players will be focussed on finishing the season before the new one starts.
McInally said: “We’ve spoken a lot about it, it does have the feel of a new season. Certainly with the way we’ve been preparing and the pre-season aspect of it and getting ourselves up to game mode again. After that it’s the start of a new season, so we do have to constantly remind ourselves we’re playing for semi-finals and more.
“I’ve been here for ten plus years and I’ve been in one quarter-final, so it’s something that’s really exciting for us, we actually have a chance to really go for something and play.
“We can’t really afford to look past these two games because we know that we’re not there yet. We’re in a great position, in a fantastic spot in the table but ultimately, we could still not get there it’s just got to be one game at a time.
"My career has taught me over the years, if you start looking too far ahead, talking about a home semi or where we might play the final, it’s pointless unless you get there, you just lose focus. We will be treating it this game first then the next game and we’ll see where we are after that."
With the return of the Gallagher Premiership in England last week, many players in Scotland have had a chance to see how officials are enforcing laws around the breakdown.
McInally added: “I saw a bit of the Exeter game, there were a lot more penalties. A lot of them were right, as players we have been speaking about it for years. You could give away a penalty at every breakdown because the laws are getting a little lax in terms of what’s acceptable and what’s allowed at the breakdown, turnovers and stuff like that. They [referees] are just being really hot on it, I think it’s great.
“It’s been mentioned in training and we have to adapt to it. We’ve had the opportunity to watch the Super Rugby as well. A lot of stuff you were getting away with last year you’re not going to get away with this year. You have to address it as it’s being refereed a lot differently to when we last played rugby.
“We’ve not discussed too much about how they are going to referee the mauls, but they are obviously looking for less resets and certainly that’s what they were chatting about around scrum time, they’re trying to keep the game going. It’s our first game playing with the PRO14 referees and it’s their first time too, each of them will have their own interpretation of how they want to do it.
“We need to be open to adapting on the day, it will be whatever team can adapt best.”
Saturday’s match between Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh at BT Murrayfield will be shown live and exclusively on Premier Sports (kick-off 5.15pm).
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