Tim Visser has warned his Harlequins team-mates to be wary of an Edinburgh Rugby side who are on a high after two recent wins when they clash in the European Rugby Challenge Cup at BT Murrayfield tomorrow.
The English outfit will start the match as favourites, but Visser knows from his own experiences just how dangerous Scots sides can be when they are the underdogs.
Visser, 29, will be making a return to the club where he made his name, the winger having been on Edinburgh’s books from 2009 until the summer of 2015.
While with the capital outfit he had some great times – being the top try scorer in the Pro12 in his first full season and helping them to the final of the Challenge Cup in 2014 – before moving south to Harlequins at the start of 2015/16.
Last year the English side reached the final of this event, only to lose out to Montpellier 26-19 in Lyon.
They started pool five with a bang last Thursday, defeating Stade Francais 43-21 at Twickenham Stoop, with Dutch-born Scotland international Visser bagging two tries.
The following day Edinburgh thumped Timisoara Saracens 59-17 in Romania, scoring nine tries in the process, meaning that tomorrow’s encounter is a big one in terms of the pool.
Visser is looking forward to catching up with some old team-mates and he said: “After last year’s disappointment in the final there is no doubt that we are out to win the Challenge Cup this year, nothing else will do for us.
“As a club that is our aim, but we are certainly not taking the pool stage lightly and it was great to get things up and running with a solid team performance against Stade Francais.
“So far this season our attacking game has not clicked as we would have liked it to, but it did in that one and now we have to keep that going against Edinburgh.
“A lot of the guys that I played with and became close friends with during my time at Edinburgh like David Denton, Matt Scott, Greig Laidlaw and Nick De Luca have all now moved on, but I know a lot of the guys and I am expecting a tough afternoon.
“Since Duncan Hodge, pictured below, took over at Edinburgh a few weeks ago their attacking game seems to have evolved a bit and for them getting big wins over Treviso and the Romanian side will have left them on a high.
“They have some dangerous players and their pack is strong so we know we need to perform well to make sure that the points travel back down south with us.”
Visser has been pleased to see Grant Gilchrist, the second-row who is now co-captain of Edinburgh alongside Stuart McInally, back fully fit and getting a run of games under his belt. The 26-year-old missed large chunks of both the 2014/15 and 2015/16 campaigns through injury, but Visser believes that if Gilchrist can get back to his best then he could be “world-class”.
“There are not many guys who have been as unlucky with injuries as Grant has been and if he had stayed fit then he would already have quite a lot of Scotland caps under his belt,” Visser said.
“He is a hard guy, a leader out on the park and someone who I think can become world-class in his position if he can just get regular rugby.
“As for a guy in my position at Edinburgh, well Damien Hoyland has done well to come through into the first team and there is no doubt that he knows where the try line is and loves to score so he will continue to get better and better.”
Visser, who still sees the Scottish capital as “home” having spent six years in the city, has also worked with Edinburgh acting head coach Hodge before.
“Hodgey is a really good character and a good coach who gets the players smiling and I think he will be good for Edinburgh,” he said.
“For us as Harlequins players we just have to make sure we come north and do a professional job and try and start building some momentum of our own.”