Allan Dell: Right mindset will seal Edinburgh home quarter

Prop Allan Dell believes if Edinburgh approach Friday evening's European Challenge Cup clash against Timisoara with the right mindset they can achieve their goal of a home quarter-final.

Allan Dell says last weekend's win at Harlequins has given the Edinburgh squad a major boost ahead of Friday night's clash against Timisoara. Picture: SNS/SRU

The start of the club’s trial period at Myreside holds the promise of a party atmosphere as a bonus-point win over the Romanian minnows will take the capital side into the last eight and two games away from a potential home final at BT Murrayfield in the second-tier competition they finished as runners-up in two years ago.

Tighthead prop WP Nel is a doubt for the game as he undergoes concussion protocols after having his comeback from a neck injury cut short in the fine 23-18 win at Harlequins last weekend, in which Dell scored a second-half try.

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Loosehead Dell said: “First and foremost we’ve just to go in there with the job of getting the five points. We have put ourselves in a great position to get a home quarter-final. We’ve just got to concentrate on keeping playing like we have in the past few weeks.

“You know these kind of games where you think there is a good chance to get points that you need to go in with the right frame of mind, focus on our roles and look to get those five points.”

Timisoara conceded 203 points in their first four Pool 5 matches, including 59 at home to Edinburgh earlier in the season.

Their last pool game at home to Stade Francais was frozen off then cancelled at the weekend, with a hearing this week expected to award the French club a five-point win.

It all points to a procession for Edinburgh, but Dell warned: “We played them over there obviously and they were a big bunch of men, really physical and strong.

“I believe their season ended in November so I don’t think they have played much rugby since. When we stuck to our game and got our skills right we put them away.

“Towards the end of the game we got a bit loose, lost some structure and let them back in a bit.

“We need to front up physically from the start, that’s the main thing.”

The South Africa-born prop, who played all three autumn Tests in November, said the win over ‘Quins at Twickenham Stoop had injected a real buzz into the squad.

“Harlequins are a really good side, a bit inconsistent this season but they’ve been really strong at home,” he said. “I think that was their first home defeat in ten games or something.

“For us to go down there and beat them the way we did was fantastic. But we’ve known we are capable of that. Through the season we have had fixtures where it has just clicked. It’s just about keeping that consistency.”

The result adds an extra layer of excitement to the Myreside move and Dell said: “I’ve never played there. In my first season here we played a game against Ospreys there and I watched that one. I’m really looking forward to it.

“It’s a smaller ground and it can be a bit more personal and more interaction with the crowd. We can draw a lot more energy from the spectators.

“We were down there last week for a training session and the school kids were in watching and the school band was playing. That was about 50 kids watching a training game and the atmosphere was great. So I can’t wait.

“If we get 5,500 people in there and bring some energy then it can only be good for Edinburgh Rugby going forward as a club.

“In a 67,000 seater stadium, no matter how much they cheer and go wild, it is not going to be as exciting as a packed smaller ground.”

Dell accepts that aspects of the move will take some getting used to but insisted that the quest for a better atmosphere trumped any loss of the home comforts they are used to at the national stadium.

“Obviously it is smaller, it might not be as luxurious as we’ve been used to at Murrayfield, but it becomes more personal and you can interact with the fans much more,” said Dell. “The changing rooms are actually really good.

“We are back on a grass pitch [BT Murrayfield is a hybrid surface] and had a runabout the other day and felt quite firm.

“I’m not sure how it will respond to heavy scrums and when the rain decides to bless us.

“Scotland A have played there in the past, so it’s got that pedigree for matches of that level.”