Prop Darryl Marfo insists that Edinburgh were never going to take Krasny Yar lightly, but admitted that the Russian side’s stunning win over European Challenge Cup holders Stade Francais has vanquished any slight chance that they might.
The Siberians pounced on French complacency and won 34-29 at home last week and tomorrow face Edinburgh in Moscow looking to make it two wins from two in their debut appearance in the tournament.
“I was quite surprised because I’d say it’s not a team who I massively follow in terms of their results,” said the 27-year-old loosehead, pictured right, who joined from Bath in the summer.
“I can’t say I’m a big fan of the Russian rugby league. With them in our pool I did have a look at the result and you say ‘well, they’ve done the job against Stade Francais’.
“Whether that’s in France or in Russia, to beat a team of their calibre is an excellent result for them. Then, when you see what they produced on the footage, it makes you sit up a bit more.”
Marfo was reluctant to speculate on how motivated the French team were for the match but stressed that Edinburgh would not make the same mistake this weekend.
“I can’t speak for Stade Francais. For us at Edinburgh we don’t take anyone lightly. We really do approach every single game looking to put our stamp of authority on it,” said the Londoner, who is Scottish qualified through an Ayrshire mother. “You do have to be aware of the opposition but we focus largely on what we put out on the pitch. We got caught on the hop by Treviso didn’t we? After that we’re not going to take anyone lightly.
“It has given us a bit more of a heads up. As I said, I was surprised by the result.”
That was a reference to Edinburgh’s shock home defeat by Italian side Benetton, which derailed a winning start to the season in week three of the Guinness Pro14.
Marfo said that the squad, who flew out to Russia yesterday, were relishing an opportunity to experience something far removed from the usual run of the mill.
“Everyone in the squad is chuffed to be involved with a match of this kind,” he said. “It’s unusual for rugby players from this part of Europe to go over and play a match in Russia. There is a lot of positivity around the club this week from last weekend’s result. Everyone is champing at the bit to get cracking into another game.”
All Krasny Yar’s tries against Stade came from their forwards, which has the Edinburgh pack anticipating a testing physical encounter.
“The challenge will come up front for me and it’s my duty to take that head on,” said Marfo.
“They definitely like to have a crack in the scrum. They are a big, heavy bunch of guys. They like that wrestle and don’t mind bashing down the door over and over again.
“If you’re a bit passive or a bit off for a second and give them space they’ll have three or four guys running up a channel. That’s how they got their tries on the weekend. We are under no illusions and they are the things we have worked on this week.”
The spotlight is now focused on tomorrow’s match after a week that was overshadowed by club captain Magnus Bradbury being excluded from the squad after a city-centre incident left him unfit to play in last weekend’s opening Pool 4 win over London Irish.
“Cockers [head coach Richard Cockerill] had his say about the matter and I’m not going to comment any more,” said Marfo. “It’s a matter for the gaffer to deal with and he’ll do that as he sees fit. He’s more qualified to talk to you about that.
“My job is a rugby player and I’ve got so many things to get right in my own personal life and my preparations for matches. You’ve got to focus on the here and now, who’s in the building and who is there to train with. You leave others to deal with that.”