Young Guns Challenge fails to confuse Edinburgh’s No.9 Henry Pyrgos

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HENRY Pyrgos has made it known he was not yet ready to slowly retire when he came off the bench midway through the second half of Edinburgh’s United Rugby Championship clash against Benetton two weeks ago. -ends to play a decisive role in restoring the momentum of the match. towards his team with a great blind break that pushed the game deep into opposition territory.

The capital’s No.9 jersey has been grabbed this season by Ben Vellacott and Charlie Shiel – younger men renowned for playing the fluid and fast rugby brand championed by new head coach Mike Blair – but Pyrgos bristles at the suggestion that it is better suited to a more structured game plan.

It’s a perception that has followed him throughout a stellar career that has included eight seasons and the 2015 PRO12 title with the Glasgow Warriors. He also co-captained the team alongside Jonny Gray in the 2016-17 campaign, before moving to Edinburgh in search of more consistent playing time in 2018.

Pyrgos has also collected 28 caps for Scotland, and although he has only started six of those matches, the fact that he has captained the national team on three of those occasions speaks volumes about his skills. in leadership and his position in the game.

“Ben is very fast, Chico too [Shiel], and it’s not necessarily my game but I was in the Glasgow team that won the league, and I did well, so I think there are different ways to bring tempo playing in the scrum half, ”he retorted, when asked if he saw his role in supporting the two youngest No.9s in the Edinburgh squad.

“I’m going to stick with what I’m doing really well and try to have a big impact on the team and help where I can.

“This is my 12th year as a pro so there have been a lot of ups and downs during that time,” he added. “It’s something that we manage better as we get older.

“I just push as hard as I can and try to keep my standards as high as possible every time I train.

“When you have young children and you also study [for a Masters in Sport Directorship at Manchester Metropolitan University], you have other things to think about, but I always try to improve in the things I can do and get a lot of satisfaction out of training the best that I can.

“Obviously there are frustrating times, because you still want to play, but if that doesn’t happen you have to move on quickly. It’s a cliché but you can only control what you can control. It’s something you learn, and you have to be good at it. There are a lot of ups and downs in your career. ”

Pyrgos replaced Blair when he made his international debut against New Zealand in November 2012, so the pair go way back, and the youngster believes he and his former teammate are on the same page.

“I think Mike expects scrum-halfs to perform basic skills well and bring tempo to the attack, so that’s what I’m trying to do as part of the overall game plan.” , he explained.

“The game plan has changed a bit this season – there are different expectations and different priorities – so it’s up to me to adapt to that.

“Under the Cockers [previous head coach Richard Cockerill], he’s been very specific about what he wants in certain areas of the pitch, while Mike is probably more of a challenge to us – especially the team makers – to take responsibility.

“So there is more discussion and reflection in the meetings, which I enjoy and love to contribute to.

“We’re probably adjusting a bit more now. Looking at us over the last three or four years you probably knew what you were going to get from us, that hasn’t changed much, which had its strengths – but now we’re looking to adjust to it a bit more. opposition and to the situation we are so, for me, this is the most important thing.

The Challenge Cup draw gave Edinburgh a day off this weekend, which means extended preparation for their 1872 Cup clash against the Glasgow Warriors the day after Boxing Day.

“We know Glasgow are a very good team and it’s a derby game so we have to play well,” Pyrgos concluded. “You have to be physical in a derby match, that’s the minimum required, if you want to be in the match.”

“Plus, for guys looking for international honors, you go up against guys who are rivals for that jersey.

“It’s a big game and building these weeks is very exciting. The guys want to perform well.


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