Ritchie focussed on getting back to winning ways

Ritchie focussed on getting back to winning ways

Jamie Ritchie has been in fine form for Edinburgh Rugby this season, with the back-row’s performance against Hollywoodbets Sharks in last weekend’s URC clash a shining light in an overall disappointing day in Durban.

Although results haven’t gone Edinburgh’s way during a two-week tour to South Africa, back-to-back losses didn’t come as a way of lack of effort or desire.

Ritchie’s performance against the Durban franchise personified the way Edinburgh’s pack performed while on South African soil, with guts and guile – however those efforts unfortunately didn’t pave the way for positive results.

“It was obviously pretty disappointing results wise. It would have been great to come away with some points out of South Africa,” said Ritchie.

“I think we showed a lot of hard work and physicality. We stayed in both games with our work rate and effort, we just couldn’t put it together to get it over the line enough times.

“Off the pitch, the tour was great. The boys had a really good time. South Arica is a beautiful country, there is lots to do and there were lots of new experiences for the lads. So off the field it was a great success in terms of how the lads gelled together.”

Ritchie – named Peak Performer earlier this week for his impressive shift in Durban – could well have been named BKT Player of the Match if Edinburgh had secured a win, with a jakal turnover on two-time Rugby World Cup winner Eben Etzebeth one of many showreel moments produced by the Scotland international.

Ritchie kickstarted the match with a bang – winning possession straight from kick-off – and never looked back during an impressive 80 minute outing at Kings Park.

“I really enjoyed the game against Sharks after a bit of an up and down Six Nations. I didn’t get as much game time as I probably would have liked,” continued Ritchie.

“It was just important for me to kind of bounce back. I’ve been enjoyed playing for Edinburgh this year and it was one of those game where things fall at your feet and you have a couple of good moments.

“The team was playing well, the game opened up which kind of suits me, but yeah felt like I played OK and it gave me something to build on for the rest of the year.”

Edinburgh, and Ritchie, now have a switch of focus and competition as the team prepares to face Bayonne in the EPCR Challenge Cup Round of 16 at Hive Stadium this Saturday night.

Knockout rugby, must-win, and back in front of a home crowd at Hive Stadium is just what the doctor ordered for the capital side, but improvements must be made if Edinburgh are to progress to the final-eight of the competition.

“I think we need to be more decisive with our opportunities. There are moments in those games where we’re probably absorbing a lot of pressure and then we’re getting a big turnover to relieve the pressure, but then it feels like we’re just giving the ball away again.

“It’s about compounding those momentum shifts for ourselves, so when we do manage to get momentum back, we can stay on top of teams and take advantage of our opportunites.

“It’s great to be back home and see the family. It’s been a long time away off the back of the Six Nations. Rugby wise, it will be brilliant to be back at Hive Stadium.

“There will hopefully be a big crowd and a great atmosphere for what should a great game. We want to get back to winning ways at home where we love playing.”

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