It will be a different story two weeks on Saturday when Scotland return to English rugby’s HQ. Twickenham will be back to its raucous best for the occasion as the Scots bid to beat their oldest rivals for the third time in a row.
Cherry was named in Gregor Townsend’s Six Nations squad on Tuesday and two days later it was announced he had been awarded a new contract with Edinburgh, tying the hooker to the club for another two years. It’s been quite a week for the likeable Cherry whose career has flourished back in his home city after some nomadic early years which took him from Tyneside to London to the south of France. At 32 his stock has never been higher, so was he not tempted to go wandering again?
“The allure of the sun is always there!” he smiled. “But when I looked at everything this was the right thing to do. I put myself in quite a good position and you have other clubs talking to you so it’s nice to know that you’re desired. But Edinburgh’s been home for seven years in all. I love playing here, I love living here so ultimately it was the decision that was best for me and my partner.”
Cherry’s stint with Stade Nicois in the south of France was tough at time but it was where he met Olivia. “She is from Manchester and a big City fan, so a bit disappointed just now! She moved over here during Covid so I guess that was the one good thing to come out of that time.”
It was during those pandemic days that Cherry broke into the Scotland team, hence the absence of supporters from Twickenham. He won his first cap by coming on in the second half of Scotland’s historic 11-6 win, their first at the historic ground in 38 years. Stuart Hogg, the then Scotland captain, generously gave Cherry and fellow debutant Cameron Redpath the honour of collecting the Calcutta Cup.
“It was during Covid so there was no crowd. It was a strange one but in a way it brought us closer together with no distractions in the stadium,” said Cherry. “It will be a different ball game in a few weeks. It was quite surreal the last time with no fans although we could hear the Scots on our bench which was nice.”
“That was my debut and I got to lift the trophy at the end which was incredible,” added Cherry who now has his sights set on a Twickenham return on February 4. “Any time you play for your country it’s an honour so if I’m selected for the England game I’ll be delighted. And if not I’ll be there to help the team get into the right place for the match.”
Hooker is a highly competitive position for Scotland and Cherry will battle it out with Fraser Brown, George Turner and Ewan Ashman for a place in the match-day 23 after all four were included in Townsend’s 40-man Six Nations squad.