Solomons - ‘Edinburgh playing catch-up in Pro12’

Edinburgh Rugby head coach Alan Solomons. Picture: Jane Barlow
Edinburgh Rugby head coach Alan Solomons. Picture: Jane Barlow
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EDINBURGH head coach Alan Solomons admits his side are paying the price for his late arrival in the capital this summer.

The South African only took up his new Murrayfield post in mid-August - just a month before the RaboDirect Pro12 season kicked-off.

And that delay has had a knock-on effect with results as Edinburgh’s solitary win from four games leaves them rock bottom of the 12-team table.

Solomons said: “What’s been tough is that - obviously through no-one’s fault - myself and my defence coach Omar Mouneimne have basically come in at the start of the competitive season.

“So we have had no pre-season with the boys, we are busy doing it now in competition, which makes it difficult.

“To add to our woes, we have had guys of the calibre of Greig Laidlaw and Matt Scott not having played a competitive game this season, Ross Rennie still not playing a competitive game, Tim Visser one game. So that doesn’t help, but it’s just the way it is.”

However, Edinburgh are hopeful that they can repeat last season’s away win over Cardiff Blues when they meet at Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday.

Skipper Laidlaw - who kicked the winning drop-goal on that day last year - has recovered from the knee injury that has kept him sidelined since the summer and the Scotland scrum-half will make his first competitive outing of the season.

Solomons said: “It’s great to have Greig back in the side.

“We have two fine young scrum-halves in Sam Hidlago-Clyne and Sean Kennedy but Greig brings a lot of experience and leadership earned at an international level.

“I believe he will make a big difference to the team.”

From those pivotal positions, Laidlaw and Harry Leonard will orchestrate a new-look backline, which wingers Tim Visser and Dougie Fife return from the head knocks they sustained against Ospreys a fortnight ago.

On-trial Argentine centre Joaquin Dominguez will make his first start for the club after extending his loan spell earlier this week but minor injuries to Greig Tonks (hamstring) and Grant Gilchrist (hip) mean the pair are unavailable for the game, with the opportunity to start offered to Jack Cuthbert at full-back and returning lock Sean Cox.

The remaining change to the starting side sees Argentine back-row Tomas Leonardi make his debut in place of the rested Roddy Grant while, on the bench, the club include Scotland centre Matt Scott for the first time this season, and new signing Cornell Du Preez, who checked in on Tuesday.

Solomons now hopes to see an improvement in results.

“I think the return of Matt and Greig will be good while Cornell du Preez has arrived and that will certainly assist that process,” the head coach said.

Edinburgh’s domestic rivals Glasgow have already beaten the Blues this season but Solomons expects his side to face a tougher test.

He said: “Glasgow head coach Gregor Townsend made the point to me that when they played them they didn’t have Leigh Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert and Sam Warburton.

“But they have now got those three British and Irish Lions back in their starting XV. That makes a massive difference to the team and they are at home, so we are going to have a tough game this weekend.”