Ali Price trained with Edinburgh yesterday for the first time since his season-long loan from Glasgow, and is now in line to make his debut against the Bulls on Friday night.

Scotland captain Jamie Ritchie could also make his first appearance of the season for the capital club in the game against the league leaders, having been out injured since the Rugby World Cup.

“Ali started training today and will be available for selection.” Edinburgh assistant coach Stevie Lawrie confirmed after training yesterday. “We met him on Friday as a coaching group. He’s hit the ground running - he’s really good with his detail, and the boys are excited to have him.

“All I can say is the way he has approached it has been excellent. Obviously today is a bit of a learning day. His clarity has been good and he’s brought a really good energy already to training, and so have the other 9s as well.

“I didn’t know much of him [beforehand] - other than how well he can play against us. He’s certainly somebody that’s going to bring a lot of quality and a good bit of competition as well. It’s an area where we want to grow our quality, and if we can have competition in our squad that’s only going to be great for everybody.”

While the aim of Price’s loan move from the Warriors was to ensure adequate game time in the run-up to the Six Nations for himself and his Glasgow and Scotland team-mates George Horne and Jamie Dobie, he will be expected to earn his place in Edinburgh’s matchday squad. His fellow-international Scott Steele is currently out of action with a hip injury, but he still faces competition from both Charlie Shiel, who started last Friday’s win against Connacht, and Ben Vellacott, who came off the bench and put in a man-of-the-match performance.  

“Competition is a good thing for everybody,” Lawrie added. “It raises the level at training and it means that when you play you need to perform well.”

Meanwhile, Ritchie has now fully recovered from his shoulder injury and is also ready to resume playing, according to the assistant coach. “Jamie is available for selection as well,” he added. “He’s training really well. He’s done all his return stuff.” 

Ritchie was one of 13 players on Edinburgh’s injury list last week, as was his fellow back-row forward Luke Crosbie, who missed the Connacht game because of concussion. Crosbie is now working through his return-to-play protocols and all being well will be fit to play against the Bulls, but other key players such as Hamish Watson and Darcy Graham are still thought to be several weeks away from returning.

“The nature of the game is always attritional, so we’re going to lose guys, but that creates opportunities,” Lawrie continued. “And when you get an opportunity you’ve got to seize it. 

“Selection every week is tough, the discussions are tough, but the competition in the squad is strong and that builds resilience as well. We showed a resilient edge at the weekend to get the win, and I think the competition builds resilience as well, because sometimes you don’t get selected. That’s learning.” 

The return of Ritchie and Crosbie in particular could be vital against the South African side, who like Edinburgh have won three of their first four games but are three points clear of the Scots side thanks to picking up three bonus points. “They’ll be a massive challenge physically,” Lawrie said. “You know exactly what they’re going to build with. They’ll bring that power game. I think they’ve gone back to that a little bit more this season.

“Wilco Louw [the prop who joined from Harlequins in the close season] has made a difference in terms of how they’ve scrummaged, but we’ve also had some positive scrummaging displays, so that’s going to be a key area.

“I think also, the battle of the gainline. They’re a momentum-based team and we need to make sure that we’re physically appropriate in that area, for want of a better phrase. 

“We’re excited about the challenge, really excited to get out there, have another game at the Hive and bring the energy we did at the weekend, and look to get better because it wasn’t a perfect performance. There’s plenty stuff we need to work on and we want to build on where we were.”