Chris Dean detects different attitude in Richard Cockerill's Edinburgh
The 23-year-old scored the clinching try in Friday’s excellent 20-10 win at Cardiff and believes the spirit the team showed at the Arms Park augurs well for making it two out of two when they host the Dragons at Myreside this Friday night.
Dean’s second-half score made amends for his error before half-time when his fresh air swipe when trying to clear allowed Cardiff to press and pull a try back after Blair Kinghorn’s touchdown and a Duncan Weir penalty had opened up a 10-0 lead that was eventually pulled back to level pegging.
“My dad said I need to stop impersonating his golf shots. Not my finest moment,” said Dean with a rueful smile.
“It is always enjoyable to win and score a try but, obviously, it is the win that really matters to us
“Like folk have said, perhaps in that 10-10 scenario we maybe would have thrown it away last year, but I think this year we know that we have done the hard work and we have that mental edge that managed to get us through with a win.
“There is a real feeling, a real belief that we have got it in the tank and I think collectively we believe we can win. There was no point in the game where I thought ‘we are going to lose this’, but last year potentially we might have thought ‘this could go the wrong way or get a bit hectic’.
“So, steps in the right direction, but feet firmly on the ground.”
Dean, pictured, may have been on the scoresheet but admitted that the victory in Wales was firmly rooted in shoring up a defence which was far too leaky last season as Edinburgh slumped to a dispiriting ninth-place finish.
“It has been good. I think what [new defence coach] Calum MacRae has brought in is a real good defensive set-up initially,” said the former Scotland Under-20 and Sevens man.
“You know, we all know our roles pretty well and have worked hard in pre-season on it and the big guys in the middle are doing the hard work and making our job easier.
“There is better emphasis about getting up there in the face of the ball carrier and making them make their decision earlier because they earlier they decide what they are going to do with the ball it makes it easier for us to defend against. That is the only real change from last year.
“It has certainly started making life easier in the wider channels.”
Dean has enjoyed partnering Junior Rasolea in midfield recently but knows new signing Robbie Fruean is back fit to add to the competition at centre.
He said: “Robbie obviously carries a lot of experience with him and the best thing about him is that he is happy to pass that experience on to you.
“It will be good to see him in an Edinburgh jersey.”