Ali Price’s move from Glasgow Warriors to Edinburgh has sparked intense debate within the Scottish rugby community but Sean Everitt insists it makes perfect sense.

The 30-year-old has moved to the capital on a season-long loan with the SRU instrumental in facilitating the deal with Glasgow insisting it was ‘in the national interest’. Price spent nine years at the Warriors - winning their Player of the Year - but he faced strong competition from George Horne and Jamie Dobie under Franco Smith. 

The British and Irish Lion will compete for a starting berth at Edinburgh with club captain Ben Vellacout with Charlie Sheel and Scott Steele providing depth, but Everitt insists they’re not oversubscribed at scrum-half. 

“Not at all,” Everitt replied when asked if it would be difficult to keep all four players happy. “Each squad of 45 needs four scrum-halves. At this stage we’ve only got two senior scrum-halves that are available to play, so I see this as adding depth in that position. Ben Vellacott and Charlie Shiel - if something happened to them we would be in a spot of bother as far as senior scrum-halves are concerned.

“So my responsibility here is to make the squad better and to grow depth within the squad in certain positions so we can rotate in a very busy season - we’ve got 11 rounds on the trot including EPCR. So it’s a busy season and everyone will have an opportunity.

“In our squad, we were always a scrum-half short, and obviously with the injury to Scotty Steele, the length of which is unbeknown to us at this stage, we obviously needed a 9. It’s something that we’ve needed on my arrival, and with the number of 9s that Glasgow has we came to an agreement and they have loaned us one.”

It’s understood that it’s unlikely that Price will return to Glasgow next season and Everitt hinted that he’d want to make his loan deal permanent. 

“Being a new coach coming in obviously I’d like to look to see what Ali has to offer," Everitt continued. "At the moment he’s on loan but if Glasgow agrees that we can keep him, and we see that he can add value and quality to our group going forward, then definitely there will be a discussion to keep him. 

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“My understanding is his contract is up for renewal at the moment so it would have to depend on how Glasgow negotiates with him.  It was our wish to have someone within the Scottish set-up and we were just fortunate that Ali was the one that agreed to come on loan with us.”

Price will miss this evening’s clash with Connacht at the Hive Stadium as he recovers from a slight injury but he will commence training on Monday. 

Everitt has witnessed Price at close quarters and he believes he can get the best out of the 30-year-old as he praised his kicking game.

He added: “My responsibility at Edinburgh is to get the best out of the players, get the best out of the squad and contribute to the national cause.

"If we can get Ali back to his best and playing regularly at Edinburgh, challenging for a starting place, I think it will be great for everyone. He has developed that. I was fortunate to coach against Ali on two occasions with the Sharks against the British & Irish Lions during Covid. The Sharks had two cracks at them and he was involved in those games.

"He impressed me with his good kicking game. He will bring a different dimension to the team, but at the same time we’ve got to understand he’s a quality player who has played 60-odd Test matches for Scotland, he’s a British & Irish Lion. We’re just very happy to have him.”

Edinburgh have built an impressive squad and they’ve started the URC season positively with two wins from three. Pierre Schoeman will become an Edinburgh centurion against Connacht tonight and Everitt has lauded the Scotland international as a ‘wonderful human being’.

“I’ve known Pierre for a long period of time,” Everitt admitted. “He was a young junior at the Bulls and playing senior rugby from a very early age. I was fortunate enough to coach his brother, Juan, who’s now plying his trade at Bath. 

“He’s a wonderful human being and on top of that, he’s a great rugby player who’s well respected by his teammates. He’s a tough customer to contest again in the scrum and gives his all for the jersey. I’m just so happy for him that he’s able to get his 100th game in front of the supporters as I know he’s very popular with them. I’m sure it will be a great occasion for him and hopefully, the team will perform in such a way that we can get a win to commemorate his 100th game.”

Edinburgh XV to face Connacht: B Kinghorn; W Goosen, M Bennett, J Lang, D van der Merwe; B Healy, C Shiel; P Schoeman, E Ashman, J Sebastian, G Young, G Gilchrist, T Dodd, C Boyle, V Mata. 

Replacements: D Cherry, B Venter, A Williams, M Sykes, B Muncaster, B Vellacott, C Dean, R McCann.