Duncan Smith looks at how Alan Solomons has shaped Edinburgh for the better since arriving in the Scottish capital.
Alan Solomons arrived at Edinburgh in the summer of 2013 just as the season was about to start. He had not had a chance to oversee pre-season or recruitment and, after some high-profile departures, found a squad that was poorly conditioned and ill-equipped for Pro12 rugby.
He transformed Edinburgh from a team that was known to be free-scoring but also defensively vulnerable into a more solid, hard-to-beat outfit. It wasn’t pretty in that first season but a platform was being put in place.
2. Outgunning Glasgow
Last season belonged to Glasgow as the Warriors stormed to a historic Pro12 title win, but when the two Scottish clubs came head to head last Christmas and New Year it was Solomons’ men who emerged with the bragging rights as Edinburgh beat Glasgow for the first time since 2011 with a 20-8 second-leg triumph at BT Murrayfield. It resulted in a 26-24 aggregate win for the capital side and took the cup out of Glasgow’s hands for the first time since 2009.
3. European breakthrough
Edinburgh became the first Scottish side to reach a European club final when they made it all the way to the Challenge Cup showpiece in May, eventually running out of steam at Twickenham Stoop and going down 19-13 to Greig Laidlaw’s Gloucester. It may have been the second-tier competition but the run to the final included good wins over French, English and Welsh opposition and ensured Glasgow didn’t hog all the headlines last season.