THERE is no such thing as a meaningless match, Richard Cockerill insisted on Friday after naming his Edinburgh to play Scarlets, and Jack Blain, for one, is inclined to agree with his head coach.

Nothing is at stake as far as the Rainbow Cup is concerned in this afternoon's final game of the season for both sides: Edinburgh are currently tenth and Scarlets eighth in the 12-team table, with just a win each so far.

But when Cockerill insisted that this game would provide invaluable experience for some of his young players, Blain was one he had very much in mind, and the 21-year-old himself is eager for another run out before he joins up with the Scotland squad next week.

“I’ve not played that much in recent weeks, so I’m really looking forward to the game,” the winger said. “There are some boys leaving that will be playing their last games as well, so it will be special for them and we want to go out and end the season on a high and get a good win.”

Edinburgh came close to getting that good win against Ulster last week, only for a last-minute penalty to consign them to a 31-34 defeat. That was their farewell to BT Murrayfield as they will be in their new, nearby stadium by the start of next season, Blain believes that the prospect of settling into their own home is one reason the squad can be optimistic about the future and put this difficult year behind them.

“It’s certainly been frustrating. There were games in which we were in right up until the end but they might not have gone our way, like the Ulster game last weekend. 

“So it’s been frustrating, but it’s also been a huge learning experience for the likes of me, for example. I’ve got some game time and the amount I’ve learned has been hugely valuable going forward. 

“And I know that it has been really valuable as well for a lot of the other young boys to get game time. It’s not the way some would have wanted to go out in what was potentially their last season at the club, but it’s exciting going on to next year and the new stadium. That’s something to really look forward to.”

Before that happens, Blain, who has 11 caps at under-20 level, could be making his full Scotland debut against either Georgia or Romania in July. But he expects that, if he is to get a chance of being picked in the senior side for either of those games, he will first have to impress for the A team in their match against England A at the end of this month. 

“Scotland A against England A will be a big fixture. I think everyone will be pumped up enough for it anyway. There will be huge motivation going into that game, looking to get a win.”  

With the best will in the world, neither Blain nor any of his team-mates is likely to feel quite as pumped up this afternoon, although the eagerness to send the likes of Eroni Sau and Mike Willemse off with a victory is sure to help. Yet of the ten players whose departure was confirmed on Friday, the one Blain may well miss most is his fellow-winger Duhan van der Merwe. The winger will miss both this match and the Scotland tour to join up with the British & Irish Lions, then will be off to join Worcester Warriors next season.

“Obviously I’m sad to see him go. He’s a big character at the club and he’ll be a big miss. He’s a great player. 

“He was very loud and always spoke what he thought. He was always giving pointers, and seeing him go on to play for Scotland and do so well and then be picked for the Lions and just knowing him as a guy is huge motivation. Yeah, great guy and he’ll definitely be missed.”