CONNOR Boyle hopes a full pre-season of training this summer will set him up to challenge for a regular starting place in the Edinburgh back row next season. 

The 21-year-old, who has signed a new contract with the team for an unspecified length of time, made his debut in October and has so far made four appearances. A leg injury restricted the work he was able to do last summer before the start of the current campaign, but with that problem well behind him now he is looking forward to fighting for a spot in the most competitive area of Richard Cockerill’s squad.  

“Edinburgh’s back row is probably up there with the most competitive positional groups in world rugby, so to get the chance to play is a real honour for me,” Boyle said yesterday after his new deal was announced. “I was unlucky this year to miss out on the majority of pre-season with a shin injury, so I’m looking forward to seeing what I can achieve with a proper run of training and matches.”

With Bill Mata, Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Luke Crosbie and Magnus Bradbury among Edinburgh’s back-row contingent, Boyle clearly faces a ferocious fight for a place in the side. But Richard Cockerill has been impressed by his work in his rookie season, and he believes he has the attitude needed to succeed.  

“Connor has shown glimpses of real talent in limited games so far,” the head coach said. “He’s got that natural instinct around the breakdown that all quality back-row players seem to possess.

“He’s a hard-working, local lad that just wants to represent his hometown club, and that’s exactly what you want to see in your players. We’re really excited to see Connor continue his development within a world-class positional group. We’ve got high hopes for him at Edinburgh Rugby."