Summer Signing Hickey Feeling Comfortable and Settled at New Home Edinburgh
Despite Edinburgh sitting on two losses from two at the start of the season, and a more than scrappy on-field performance in their first match, new boy Simon Hickey is enjoying his first three months in the capital city and feels the performances on the field are improving.
Hickey will run out at BT Murrayfield for the first time this Friday (Photo: The Herald)
Wearing the all-important number 10 jersey Hickey is already looking like the assured and intelligent fly half that Edinburgh has lacked in previous seasons. Last year’s trial and error partnerships between Jaco Van Der Walt, Sam Hidalgo Clyne and Nathan Fowles seem far away now, as Hickey has formed a quick partnership with fellow summer signee Henry Pyrgos, supplying Edinburgh with a back line that looks far less youthful than it once did.
Speaking earlier this week Hickey said,
“I’ve really enjoyed playing with Henry these last couple of weeks. I think he’s a really good player, and he’s got a cool head on the field, but he’s also gutsy enough to try things – and quite a few of them pay off. Yeah, I’ve enjoyed my first couple of outings with him.”
Pyrgos and Hickey may not have the star power of a McGrath and Sexton or a Price and Russell, but they do add the game management and connection in the 9 and 10 area that will allow the likes of Blair Kinghorn, Matt Scott and Mark Bennett to flourish.
However, an error filled Edinburgh performance away to Swansea against the Ospreys, and a crushing last minute loss away to Ulster has demonstrated that Cockerill’s new backline have a long way to go before reaching their full potential.
The former New Zealand Under 20’s player is more than alert to this and felt it was poor game management from himself and the side at the Kingspan that led to them conceding a penalty in the 80th minute to hand the hosts the game, despite Hickey hitting a 79th minute penalty to secure the lead.
“There were a couple of defensive lapses which just gave them easy tries that were certainly very avoidable. And then, I’d say, 95 percent of the time our kicking-game control was really good, and there was probably just potentially that one where they counter-attacked and scored.”
“Certainly there are a few things we can improve on game-management-wise, so that when we’ve got a 17-point lead we don’t let it slip. But at the same time I think we’re tracking in the right direction, so if we just keep improving I know we’re not far off.”
It is the ever constant optimism that has surrounded the Edinburgh camp since the Cockerill regime began that is already installed into Hickey’s mind-set, and it has every right to be there. Both the losses were avoidable and came down to crunch decisions by the referee in the death, and the improvement in the side from week 1 to week 2 is undeniable.
Cockerill’s impact on the team and culture of the side was a leading factor in Hickey’s move to the capital. Speaking about the reputation of the club before his decision to make the switch from France to Scotland, he said,
“I spoke to Cockers and a few other guys that I knew on the team here and I was impressed with what I saw. Cockers has a pretty good reputation and he’s got a lot of experience, so it was cool to have the opportunity to come and play under a coach who’s been around the traps a long time.”
Edinburgh have the opportunity to get that elusive first win of their Pro 14 season on Friday night against a far from easy Connacht team at BT Murrayfield. No matter the result though, Edinburgh fans should continue to sleep well knowing their number 10 woes are swiftly becoming a thing of the past.