Playing a Guinness Pro14 play-off may be uncharted territory for Edinburgh but knockout rugby isn’t and lock Grant Gilchrist insists the team have learned from their most recent experience of that ahead of this afternoon’s quarter-final at Munster.
Edinburgh froze a bit in their European Challenge Cup last-eight clash at BT Murrayfield against Cardiff and crashed out of a tournament they reached the final of back in 2015.
“We learned our lessons on that night,” said Gilchrist. “This is a different beast in terms of it is the top tier of the league and not the Challenge Cup. Not to belittle that, we have had runs in the Challenge Cup before but this is uncharted territory.
“In that sense it is unique but we have played in big games before, the big games against Glasgow, the run-in the Challenge Cup a few years ago. Guys have played in that and the Heineken Cup quite a few years ago now.
“Playing in knockout rugby, it is a one-off game. You have to make sure you play really well and play every minute. You can’t get caught up in a game and certainly don’t want to be chasing the game over in Munster.
“We are aware that we need to start well. Away from home you need to silence the crowd. You can’t let them build up a lead and make life difficult for you. We are under no illusions but feel we have prepared well and are looking forward to it.”
Gilchrist was injured when Alan Solomons took Edinburgh to that Challenge Cup final, which they lost 19-13 to Gloucester at Twickenham Stoop but there are others in today’s team who experienced the wins over London Irish and Dragons which got them there.
“There are certainly a few dotted round the squad who have won in these big one-off games,” said the Scotland second row.
“For the younger guys, this is the first experience of that and they will relish it. The younger guys in the squad have been excellent for us all year so I am sure they will be delighted to be getting this opportunity to play in these one-off games and see what they are all about.”
Gilchrist agreed that Munster away was one of the biggest tests for a forward.
“We know what we are going to get but, as a front-five forward, I love that,” he said. “They look to dominate in my area but, as a front five, we will be looking to make sure that we match that. If we don’t, we won’t have a chance of winning the game.”