Back-row tyro Magnus Bradbury believes that concentration lapses are to blame for Edinburgh’s shaky start to the new Guinness Pro12 season.
Alan Solomons’ side have won one (Scarlets) but lost two (Cardiff and Leinster) and it doesn’t get any easier this weekend as they head to the cauldron of Thomond Park to face Munster.
The 21-year-old played in the province towards the end of last season but that was in Cork and he is looking forward to experiencing one of European rugby’s most atmospheric venues.
The former Scotland Under-20 player has been delighted to feature in all three of the league games so far, bagging a couple of tries in the process, but shares the general frustration which heightened last Friday following the 33-20 home defeat by Leinster.
“Concentration was one of the things that came out of our [review] meeting,” explained Bradbury.
“That lapse in concentration from about ten minutes until maybe the 35th or something led to them getting the upper hand.
“We did get our concentration back for the second half and had more of the ball and attacked more.
“For the size of players we have and the calibre of player we have we have all the necessary tools. The concentration at times lapses and that is what kills us.”
As well as leaking tries last Friday Edinburgh spurned a few opportunities of their own and the youngster from Oban, who is the son of new SRU vice-president Dee Bradbury, accepts that they need to be sharper.
“The defence is our main thing, not so much the system but the belief that we can stop teams scoring against us and keep them out for an extended period of time,” he said. “We have always tried to work on our attack and it has come on leaps and bounds in the last couple of seasons. It is just capitalising when we get to the last third and come away with points.
“It is just getting used to it, we are creating chances, it is just getting those killer blows and getting points.”
After making his Edinburgh debut against Leinster almost two years ago, Bradbury made ten appearances last season and is establishing himself as a regular in the back row. Testing himself against the likes of Munster, who have two wins and one loss from their opening three games, is an exciting prospect.
“We played at Irish Independent Park in Cork last year rather than Thomond,” he recalled. “So this will be my first time at Thomond. I have heard it is a good place, big stands, good crowds, good fun.
“I think everyone is looking forward to it.
“Munster are a bit like us in a way, big pack. We are pretty confident. We know it is going to be hard up front and whoever gets the upper hand will win the game, so we are going to go for it.”
Bradbury insists there is no panic in the Edinburgh ranks and they continue to have high hopes of finishing in the top half of the table following last season’s disappointing slump to ninth and perhaps even pushing for a play-off.
He said: “I think it is realistic. It is only three games and is a long season. Anything can happen; that is still our target, yes.”
Bradbury says he feeling more at ease in the senior pro ranks. “It is pretty nerve-wracking, especially playing at Murrayfield, but getting experience makes it easier every week.
“It is not just me, the likes of Jamie [Ritchie], Blair [Kinghorn], Chris Dean, Damo [Hoyland] all the young guys who put their hands up last season; Solly has a lot more confidence in us that we have had some experience and can push on.”