EDINBURGH head coach Alan Solomons has warned his side they must take far better care of the ball if they are to have any chance of overturning a ten-point deficit from the first leg of the 1872 Cup against Glasgow and reclaim the oldest trophy in club rugby for the first time since 2009.
The capital club coughed up an astonishing 17 turnovers and a frustrated Solomons admitted that stopped them both building meaningful field position and sustaining pressure in Warriors’ territory.
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Yet the South African is still full of belief that his men showed enough in a gritty defeat, in which their commitment and determination were never in question, to give hope they can bring Glasgow’s five-year domination of the famous old claret jug to an end in Friday’s return leg at BT Murrayfield.
“The big problem for us was that we turned over far too much ball at the breakdown and as a consequence we didn’t have field position, which was critical,” admitted Solomons.
“There were also one or two errors, like when we missed a first-up tackle on Sean Lamont and that led to a try that made a massive difference at a crucial time.
“We also had a kick from a penalty and we missed touch but really we were unable to sustain pressure deep in their half due to the turnovers. So we didn’t get the opportunity to play as much as we would have liked because of that and it was very frustrating.
“In derby games it is vital to take every opportunity and give away nothing and unfortunately we made too many errors but the key for me was that we coughed up some very costly ball.
“So we are going to have a close look at the breakdown, for me the turnovers were the killer for us.”
While full-back Jack Cuthbert has sustained a leg injury that makes him a doubt for Friday’s reprise, there was better news on flying wing Tim Visser.
Solomons revealed: “Tim had played five games on the bounce and he was feeling his hamstring while his back was also worrying him.
“It was unfortunate timing but we had to give him a break. So we have rested him but Tim will be good to go on Friday at BT Murrayfield.”
Although Solomons conceded that the 16-6 margin of defeat his side must overcome to reclaim domestic supremacy will be a tough ask, the Edinburgh head coach was bullish about his side’s prospects of doing just that.
The 64 year-old said: “We can definitely turn it around, it is going to be a tough challenge, as Glasgow are a very good side and ten points is a big enough margin but it is by no means an impossible task.
“So we will focus on what we believe can make the difference and if we can just cut out the errors and become that bit more clinical then we will give ourselves an opportunity at achieving that.”
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