EDINBURGH Rugby forwards coach Neil Back is insisting the team will ultimately emerge stronger for a woeful season in which only four of their 21 games so far have been won.
The ex-England World Cup winner, who has a year left on his contract and appears to have dodged the axe that has claimed head coach Michael Bradley and defensive mentor Bill McGinty, has mostly kept a low profile.
But he has broken cover in his role as ambassador for a commercial enterprise to claim progress has been made in some areas, including developing young talent. Curiously, ex-flanker Back emphasises the abilities displayed by winger Dougie Fife as being symptomatic of better times ahead.
Back said: “A lot of young players have got European experience, but the execution isn’t quite there. That sort of thing comes with experience so, while this season has been difficult, they will have learned a lot.
“Dougie Fife has been the standout player for us. He’s having a fantastic season, and it’s been a real breakthrough for him.
“If you look at our Heineken Cup team, we had a 19-year-old [Robin Hislop] starting at loosehead.”
In fact, Hislop was 20 when debuting but Back argues the future is bright.