How energetic Edinburgh is benefiting from Argentinian power pair and coach Mike Blair's 'bursts of bravery'

Argentinians have a phrase for what seems to be happening to Edinburgh as they challenge for the top of the United Rugby Championship – ‘Ponerse las pilas.’

Head coach Mike Blair. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Head coach Mike Blair. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

Literally it means to put the batteries in, colloquially it is about providing a burst of energy and can be taken in two ways if you hear it for the first time around Murrayfield this week.

Firstly there is the literal boost of Argentinian ‘pilas’ pair full back Emiliani Boffelli and wing Ramiro Moyano who scored three of their side’s four tries in Newport at the weekend.

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Secondly there’s the style of play under head coach Mike Blair, an energetic burst of controlled bravery in the first half playing into the wind an example of how they are looking to build new levels to the basics instilled by predecessor Richard Cockerill.

Blair was delighted with the bonus point win which puts his team one point off the top of the table as the only side breaking up Ireland Big Three provinces, as well as the contribution of his Argentinian contingent.

“I deliberately paired them this week. Emiliano coming in for his first week, he was playing on Sunday, walked around with us in our session on Monday and then straight into things on Tuesday,” said Blair.

“He’s not a fluent English speaker, he’s a reasonable English speaker but I believe having him and Ramiro, who speaks very good English, working together saw the best out of both of them and I’m sure there is a lot more to come as well.”

The final part of the back three, right wing Damien Hoyland who scored the bonus point try, is also enjoying playing with his new colleagues and the new style of play.

“They’re great lads - they’re great to have in the squad,” he said. “Emiliano has only been here a week, but it already feels like he’s been here for months.

“You look across our entire squad - our pack, our back line - we’ve got a lot of guys with international caps there from different nations and you’re thinking ‘You know what?’ this is a good squad and it can give any team a run for their money.’

“I’m absolutely loving the style of play. I’m loving getting my hands on the ball. I haven’t enjoyed a rugby game as much as I did that one.

“I think I speak on behalf of the whole squad when I say we’re all absolutely loving it - we’re loving the training, we’re loving the games, and we’re loving the game plan.”

One thing no-one is loving is the renewed uncertainty over the involvement of the South African teams, even though Edinburgh are not due to visit South Africa until March

“It’s definitely a bit of a concern how these games are going to play out,” admitted Blair. “To be honest I try not to think too much about that kind of thing – that’s my manager or MD who says what’s changed and then we try to deal with that.”

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