PIERRE SCHOEMAN will miss out on the opportunity to earn his first cap for Scotland this summer by a matter of days, but the South African prop says he is happy to focus instead on a strong end to his club season with Edinburgh before, hopefully, stepping up to the international stage during the Autumn Test series.  

Beyond that, the 27-year-old makes no bones about his ambition to emulate his fellow ‘Jock Bok’ Duhan van der Merwe by earning selection for the British and Irish Lions on their tour of Australia in 2025. 

“I think I qualify on 19th or 20th July [Scotland play the second of their two summer Tests against Georgia on 17th July] so it’s actually a blessing just to focus on Edinburgh and not get distracted,” he insisted. “It’s just nice to keep giving to the team and keep on learning and grafting at Edinburgh.

“It’s a key thing for us to maintain standards and we have a big emphasis on training, so that's all I am thinking about at the moment.” 

Schoeman made it clear as soon as he arrived on these shores back in 2018 that his intention was to qualify for Scotland through the controversial three-year residency rule. Now, having seen club-mates Hamish Watson, Rory Sutherland and van der Merwe make this summer’s Lions squad, he has been inspired to chase an even bigger dream.

“The next Lions tour will be in only four years’ time, so it’s something to work towards,” he continued. “Imagine in those four years, how many games you can play for Edinburgh? I’d like to play as much as I can for the club and see where that leads to.  

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“If it happens to be Scotland, imagine how many caps you could play in that time? I would like to give back to the club and country, and then maybe aspire to the Barbarians or the British & Irish Lions.  

“It’s a massive goal to work for and it’s something that drives you every day, through lockdown, through winter, through summer, through every rep and the stuff you don’t like doing. It’s always at the back of your mind. 

“I think it drives a lot of players – it means a lot to folk in the UK to accomplish the British and Irish Lions. It’s a massive honour. 

Schoeman’s unbridled enthusiasm for life is likely to be a useful commodity for Edinburgh during the next month, as the club battles through their three remaining matches in the Rainbow Cup. With nothing to aim for as a team, maintaining standards is going to become a test of each individual player’s professionalism. 

“When a club like Edinburgh signs you, you don’t want to just take cash or kit or game-time, you actually want to give back,” was Schoeman’s assessment of the situation. “You can see how big it is for the lads to get their 50th or 100th game for the club, or even their 150th or 200th game. It’s a big honour to get those milestones as an individual.

"But, also, for the club, when you see that combination of foreigners and young lads coming through the ranks and you see where you were three years ago and where you can be in three years’ time, it’s just amazing to be part of that journey. 

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“Our head coach Richard Cockerill is very good at driving the standards, as is [forwards coach] Stevie Lawrie, our attack coach [Duncan Hodge] and defence coach [Calum MacRae],” he added. “It can be small things like ball placement or lifting the lineout. It’s not always about the game day and that’s why preparation is key. It’s these little habits that cultivate a good motivational engine that keeps you going to strive to be good, better or the best.” 

Edinburgh haven’t always hit the standards Schoeman is alluding this season, and they had another slip-up last Friday night when they surrendered their grasp of the 1872 Cup to Glasgow Warriors through a 29-19 defeat at Scotstoun. The two sides will meet again at Murrayfield this coming Saturday, and their enigmatic loose-head is determined to lead from the front as the capital sides look to settle a few scores. 

“We reckon we need to better in terms of physicality up front, so we’ve worked a lot on the breakdown,” he says. “We always pride ourselves on being on it physically, but eight times out of ten isn’t good enough. Once or twice, you slip and that’s costly against good attacking sides like Glasgow, so we have to be on it ten out of ten times, even if it's the first tackle or the last tackle of the game.” 

 “Our kicking game was good last week, and our set-piece was solid, but you have to back that up the next week and the following week.”