Nimmo desperate to impress his mentor
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons lock Ian Nimmo is desperate to impress a British rugby great when he locks horns with his old side Edinburgh tomorrow night.
The 27-year-old, from Perthshire, won’t be short of familiar faces to make an impression on in the RaboDirect Pro12 encounter at Rodney Parade.
Nimmo came through the ranks at Edinburgh, playing alongside the likes of Ross Ford, Nick de Luca, Ross Rennie and Greig Laidlaw in their academy.
But it isn’t just former teammates that Nimmo, who signed for the Dragons from Cornish Pirates this summer, will be seeking out after the final whistle.
When he left Scotland to join Leicester he was taken under the wing of Neil Back, who was cutting his teeth as a coach.
The World Cup winner with England and three-time British and Irish Lions tourist is now in charge of the forwards in the Scottish capital.
It’s no surprise to Nimmo that Back is being lauded for his work after a fine start to the campaign by Edinburgh, but the lock is desperate to derail his friends turned foes.
“This was the game I looked for when the fixtures came out,” said Nimmo, who represented Scotland at Under-21 level.
“You always want to perform best and make an impression when you are up against people you know.
“It is a great opportunity for me to show Edinburgh what I can do and it’s always nice to beat your ‘home’ team.
“They’ve done really well recently and from what I have seen they are retaining the ball well and their defence has been good, which is testament to Neil Back.
“He is a very good coach and I learnt a lot from spending a lot of one-on-one time with him.
“He highlights a lot of things that you can improve on and plenty of stuff that you wouldn’t even think of, like conserving energy and lines of running.
“Neil is very good at the smarter side of rugby, he was a great help to me and what he has brought to Edinburgh is already showing out on the pitch.”
The start made by the sixth-placed visitors contrasts with that made by the Dragons, who have failed to add to the bonus point victory against Zebre on opening night. It has led to a feeling of deflation among supporters, who already fear being cut adrift as the fourth-placed Welsh region for the third season on the bounce.
“From what I know already, Welsh rugby can be very critical and to a certain extent you just have to let that go to one side,” said Nimmo.
“In Cornwall they were similar. It’s nice to see that passion.
“Sometimes it would be nice to hear something more constructive but it’s just people voicing their opinion. But I think it’s important that we just focus on what we can control.
“I’ve never enjoyed losing but I think we definitely progressed at Munster last week and I don’t think we let ourselves down. We showed a good bit of grit, even if the scoreline (33-13) doesn’t suggest that.
“When I look around our team I see a lot of promising players and improvements will come and those results will come, hopefully starting tomorrow.”