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Boyhood Edinburgh fan Connor Boyle determined to make his mark this season

By PA

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Boyhood Edinburgh fan Connor Boyle is determined to take a big step towards establishing himself in the team this season.

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The 21-year-old came on for the last 11 minutes last weekend to help his side close out a hard-fought victory in their opening United Rugby Championship match at home to Scarlets.

Boyle has now been rewarded with a rare start as one of six changes to Mike Blair’s line-up for Saturday’s clash with Benetton in Italy.

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The flanker – who came through the Edinburgh academy – is eager to keep making an impression with the team of his heart.

Boyle said: “Last weekend was brilliant because it was my first time playing a live game in front of home crowd, in the city I grew up – it was class.

“I grew up 10 minutes away from Murrayfield and went to school five minutes away. Stevie Lawrie (a coach at Edinburgh) was my PE teacher at school.

“I had a season ticket and I actually had an Edinburgh-themed birthday party when I was younger, so in terms of connections, I’m pretty well linked to the club.”

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Boyle knows he faces stiff competition for game time this term.

He said: “The Edinburgh back row is one of the most competitive in Europe. It’s amazing in terms of a learning environment for me because I’ve got Hamish Watson, who’s a Lion, Jamie Ritchie and Luke Crosbie who are all class players.

“The coaches here always tell young players that we’re trying to retire the people who are ahead of us so I just want to push on, get more game time and keep learning and improving.”

Boyle visibly enjoyed the win over Scarlets as he revved up the home crowd at the new DAM Health Stadium with passionate gestures.

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He said: “Lots of my friends and people I know were at the game. I loved feeding off that energy in the crowd in the last 10 minutes. I am a passionate player – that’s who I am – so I was geeing up the crowd to help us get over the line.”

After rousing the crowd last weekend, Boyle and Edinburgh will have to try and subdue a partisan home support in Treviso on Saturday.

He said: “Benetton are probably one of the form teams in the URC. We beat them in pre-season but we’re expecting a completely different outfit.

“They’re going to be physical up front. Italian teams are really passionate and they don’t like losing at home so we’re going to have to stem that passion and impose our own game on them.”

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Boyhood Edinburgh fan Connor Boyle determined to make his mark this season

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