George Taylor has vowed to use tomorrow afternoon’s European Challenge Cup quarter-final clash against Bordeaux-Begles as an opportunity to make the Edinburgh No12 jersey his own.  

The 23-year-old midfielder had some excellent performances for the capital club in the pre-lockdown section of the season – including a man-of-the-match showing in the 10-31 victory over Agen during the pool stage of this competition last November – but has struggled to nail down a starting place. 

While the departure of Matt Scott during the summer should mean more opportunity for game-time this coming season, Chris Dean had been the preferred option at inside centre for the three games played since lockdown eased. However, that is set to change on Saturday when Taylor will be given his first start since rugby’s restart as head coach Richard Cockerill looks to reinvigorate the side following the demoralising loss to Ulster last time out. 

“When they mentioned that Matt was leaving it kind of woke me up a bit because I thought I’d potentially have more games in the 12 jersey,” said Taylor. “I’ve just tried to focus on my own game and improve where I can.  

“At the same time Matt Gordon has come in and is playing really well, as is Chris Dean, so that competition is good for the club.  

“But I’m looking to make my mark a bit more. I’ve still got a lot to learn, but I’m looking to get a consistent run of games under my belt towards the end of this season which will hopefully lead into the start of the new season. 

“I need to vary my game a bit more. We’ve been training to use little attacking kicks in the wide channel, and I think a small kicking game would help me a lot. I’ve had some solid performances but with a kicking game I think I’d be able to excel.” 

Tomorrow’s opponents led the Top14 before Covid caused the abandonment on the domestic season in France, and they will field a high-calibre midfield against Edinburgh which is likely to feature French internationals Matthieu Jalibert and Rémi Lamerat, plus New Zealander Ben Botica. It will be a big challenge which Taylor insists he is looking forward to tackling head-on. 

“It’s exciting more than anything,” he said. “There will be nerves there, but good nerves. It’s another chance to go and prove myself against an opposition I’ve not played before.  

“They’ll be strong, I’m looking forward to it, especially if Jalibert plays at 10. He’s a skilful footballer but his defence is one of his areas of weakness, so we’ll be targeting that for sure. Just to play against the likes of Jalibert will be exciting.”