Ritchie riding the rollercoaster

Ritchie riding the rollercoaster

Edinburgh star Jamie Ritchie has gone through a season of emotional highs and lows, but is ready for action as the capital side finish the regular season away to Benetton this Saturday (1 June).

The season has come down to the wire after a campaign that has been tighter than ever, and Edinburgh will need Ritchie to continue the form that saw him pick up the Scottish Building Society Player of the Year award if they are to turn over ‘the Leoni’ at Stadio Monigo.

On the recent award, Ritchie said, “I’m delighted. I was a little bit emotional on the night. It’s been a good year, challenging at times but it’s an honour for me and hopefully what I put out there every weekend has kind of been showing I’m doing alright.”

The season hasn’t been plain sailing for the former Madras RFC man, who has had to fight harder than ever to earn his place in the Scotland team. The full backing of Edinburgh Head Coach Sean Everitt has helped the flanker to thrive in the capital pack.

“If you include the World Cup then it was a real high going out there and being named as captain, I was full of confidence and then it was frustrating personally being injured before half time in two games and coming back and feeling like I started well for Edinburgh. There was a couple of quiet games going into the Six Nations and we all know what happened there being in and out of the team.

Ritchie receives the BKT Player of the Match award vs Cardiff

“I came back to Edinburgh and Sean backed me. He said ‘look I think you’ve been playing well beforehand and playing well now’. I played Zebre in the down week and he backed me and kept his confidence in me and my confidence in myself and I felt like I’ve been playing pretty well.

“Rugby is funny. It’s quite subjective and driven by opinion and narrative around a lot of things. Sometimes the games come to you and sometimes they don’t. It’s funny that when you’re confident it comes to you a bit more and you get yourself in positions and that’s kind of how I’ve felt over the last few weeks.

“A little different part of my game is in the air and we’ve been kicking off a bit more contestable and I feel I’ve been getting myself into the game there and it’s been a reasonable year for getting on the ball. I feel I’ve contributed well to the team.”

Jamie Ritchie winning an aerial challenge vs Munster

Ritchie displayed his aerial prowess most recently against Munster, regularly winning challenges in the air, channelling his inner ‘Boff’ to secure contestable kicks. While the result didn’t go the way Edinburgh would have wanted, Ritchie was proud of the display, and one that needs to be replicated to get a result this weekend.

“Although the result was disappointing, all the bits we’ve been focusing on over the past few weeks came together in that game, against arguably one of the best sides in the league, certainly one of the best at digging out tough games. We showed some real grit.

Obviously we didn’t get there at the end, but there were moments where we had opportunities to win and I think that was probably one of our most complete performances. There were just a couple of soft moments in there which have let us down over the season a bit.

“Again, they are the things which will make the difference at the weekend. But we are looking to improve again, which I feel like we have each time over the past few weeks. If we improve again against Benetton then hopefully it will be enough.”

Ritchie carrying vs Cardiff

This season has tested the flanker – who now leads the league for turnovers won – however not getting frustrated has been key to his impressive form.

“From getting into the national team it’s been relatively smooth sailing for me. I feel like I’ve been first choice for most of that time without trying to sound arrogant. These things come and I feel I’ve proved myself to myself and it didn’t change who I was if I wasn’t getting selected all the time and how I’d be in the environment and what I’m contributing off the field.

“Not getting frustrated is the main thing. It’s natural and important you feel disappointment and a little bit of frustration if you feel you are deserving or missing out on something you want, but it’s how you respond that is important. When you’re in the Six Nations group, when you’re not in the team it’s not about forcing yourself back in.

“If you’re not selected for the game that week it’s about preparing the team as well as you can and that’s how I looked at it. I’m pretty experienced in terms of international rugby so helping the guys around me who are maybe not as experienced in my position or helping guys like Rory Darge with his leadership are ways I can contribute and I can try to make a difference to the team at the weekend even if I’m not playing.”

Ritchie’s form has been vital in keeping Edinburgh in the play-off hunt, and he’ll continue looking to control the controllable in the business end of the season.

“Obviously frustration and disappointment is natural. I’d be worried if I didn’t feel that. But there are other things in my life I can focus on – the bigger picture stuff like family – and I have some really good friends away from rugby that I can talk to about these things.

“All I can do is face it head on – have good conversations with the coaches, things like that – but at no point is it going to benefit me to go in a strop and be really upset about it. I understand the way rugby is. It’s super subjective. A coach can make or break your career – if someone doesn’t like you, you don’t get into a team – or you might get injured. These things happen that are often outwith your control. The only things that you can control is how you handle yourself and what you put into it. I’ve always been content with what I’ve done, and that’s all I can base that on.”

Ritchie wins another battle in the skies vs Munster

Spread the word

Newsletter Sign-up

Sign-up for our newsletter today to receive the latest updates, content and releases from Edinburgh Rugby.


Principal Partners