Dougie Fife keen to see Edinburgh in Euro play-offs

EDINBURGH Rugby’s long season may be coming to an end, but Dougie Fife is keen for it to be stretched out for another couple of weeks.
Dougie Fife: Annoyed not to beat Gloucester. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS/SRUDougie Fife: Annoyed not to beat Gloucester. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS/SRU
Dougie Fife: Annoyed not to beat Gloucester. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS/SRU

Scotland winger Fife has appeared in 22 of the capital side’s 30 outings to date in league and European competition in 2014-15, including starting the last six on the bounce.

After last week’s Guinness Pro12 loss to the Dragons, which left Edinburgh’s European Rugby Champions Cup hopes for next term in the balance, head coach Alan Solomons had stated that a number of his charges had looked tired after a hectic schedule.

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Well, if they are, 24-year-old Fife is not letting on. He is focused on the last regular season match tomorrow against Leinster at BT Murrayfield.

“I didn’t feel tired against the Dragons, but we seemed to struggle more than usual. It was quite a flat performance, things just didn’t seem to go our way,” he said.

“That defeat has given us a lot more determination going into this match and we have had some pretty good, physical training sessions this week. We need to bring that physicality back to our game against Leinster as it has been missing in recent weeks.”

Edinburgh, currently eighth in the table, need a win tomorrow – and Connacht to lose to the Ospreys – if they are to finish in seventh.

That would give them the chance to take on Gloucester in the first stage of a European play-off. And, if victorious, they would then meet a French side, with the winners clinching the last place in the elite Champions Cup.

Fife added: “If we can win this week then we would obviously be up for the play-off match to come away to Gloucester because the Champions Cup is where we want to be.

“We were pretty annoyed not to beat Gloucester in the Challenge Cup final, but I think we showed enough that night to show that we can compete with them. However, all we can think about just at the moment is this Leinster match.”

Leinster travel to Scotland in fifth place and unable to reach the top four play-offs in the Pro12.

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“They will come over here with not much to play for, but that can be pretty dangerous at times because they can play without pressure and throw the ball about,” Fife said.

“We await to see what kind of team they come over with, but Leinster are a good team and will always be hard to beat.”

When he looks back at the Edinburgh season in its entirety Fife states it has been “up and down”, something most onlookers would certainly agree with. On the pitch, Edinburgh have certainly improved – going from a 62-13 league loss to the Ospreys back in September to a European final a fortnight ago – but injuries to key players have highlighted the lack of strength in depth in the squad.

And off the pitch there have been various challenges, none more so than this week when managing director David Davies stepped down in the wake of a player revolt.

“There have been a few challenges. At the start of the season we wanted to finish in a top six spot in the league. Obviously that hasn’t worked out, but we did pretty well in Europe and still have a chance of a play-off place in the league,” former Currie man Fife said.

“After the end of the season we will obviously be sitting down to look at it as a whole.

“We have had some really good wins, but other frustrating performances in games which, if we had won them, we would have finished in the top six,” Fife added.