Capital punishment: A history of underachievement

Tim Visser was a success in black and red
Tim Visser was a success in black and red
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Edinburgh Rugby are the Pro12 strugglers. Here’s how they have fared.

2010-2011, 8th: The last season of the Celtic League before it officially became the Pro12 was a continuation of mediocrity for Edinburgh despite the addition of Italian sides Aironi and Treviso. Finishing eighth above Connacht, Treviso, Aironi, and Glasgow, interim head coach Rob Moffat did engineer a 28-17 win over Glasgow at Murrayfield, and Tim Visser topped the try chart with an impressive 14 for the season.

2011-2012, 11th: The first official Pro12 season was sadly, for Edinburgh, their worst ever league performance. Michael Bradley’s first year as head coach was spent losing to the likes of cash-strapped Aironi, who finished bottom and were replaced by Zebre for the following season. It was, however, Edinburgh’s finest European season, with the club reaching the semi-final of the Heineken Cup before losing 22-19 to Ulster in a close match in Dublin.

2012-2013, 10th: The arrival of players such as WP Nel somewhat offset the loss of stalwarts Mike Blair and Chris Paterson to France and retirement respectively. But the season started slowly and never recovered, with Edinburgh losing heavily to Saracens and Munster in the Heineken Cup, and finishing above only Newport Gwent Dragons and newcomers Zebre.

2013-2014, 8th: Bradley was told his contract would not be renewed at the end of 2013, leading to the appointment of Alan Solomons, inset, as head coach. The season was treated as a rebuilding job with many players arriving and leaving and the scale of the rebuild couldn’t have been any clearer as Edinburgh scraped wins against Treviso and Zebre at home before losing to both sides in Italy, finishing the season in eighth.

2014-2015, 8th: An improvement in performances if not position, as Solomons’ side again finished eighth but with three wins and ten points more than the season before. The highlight was the club’s journey to the European Challenge Cup final, topping their pool and beating London Irish and Newport Gwent Dragons in the knock-outs before losing 19-13 to Gloucester.

2015-16, 9th: Solomons’ third season was an improvement again in terms of victories and points, finishing the season with 11 wins in ninth position, only nine points away from sixth and a Champions Cup spot. The improved performances were, however, in stark contrast to a lack of competitiveness in the league with Treviso, Newport Gwent Dragons and Zebre finishing the season with only 12 wins between them. The Challenge Cup was also a damp squib, with Edinburgh dropping out after the pool stage.