Solomons relishes Edinburgh’s ‘massive games’

Ben Atiga is congratulated during Edinburgh's Heineken Cup win. Picture: Getty
Ben Atiga is congratulated during Edinburgh's Heineken Cup win. Picture: Getty
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EDINBURGH coach Alan Solomons praised the decision of David Denton to re-sign and hailed the team’s win over Gloucester without the young talisman, but swiftly insisted that such boosts will count for little if the team cannot build on the standards set at the weekend.

The experienced South African coach has never been one for hyperbole, and while keen to express his pleasure at the win claimed at Kingsholm, which gives Edinburgh an outside chance of reaching the knockout stages in the Amlin Challenge Cup, he admitted his focus now is firmly on Leinster and tonight’s RaboDirect PRO12 return, and the tough run of games to come.

He said of Sunday’s rare Heineken Cup success on English soil: “They were good over the whole 80 minutes, which was positive. We’ve been good in parts but never over the whole 80 minutes of a match [this season] and doing that generates a measure of confidence, but as I have said before this is a process and does take time. I think we are improving, but there are times that you’re going to plateau and times you take a step back, but I do believe that we’re moving in the right direction.

“These are massive games that we’re playing, when you consider that Leinster are probably the top side in Europe. You’ve then got two massive derby games [with Glasgow], which are always tough, and then you go straight into Perpignan and then into Munster away, so it’s a massive period for this team, but something that we’re all looking forward to.

“It was good to get the result we got on Sunday and to go into this period now with that win behind us. Winning always generates confidence and a good feeling … but Gloucester is now past and we face a very powerful Leinster side on Friday night.”

Solomons took the decision to rest Scotland internationalists Greig Laidlaw, Denton and Nick de Luca, and was without Matt Scott, Tim Visser and Harry Leonard, but still the team proved too good for Gloucester. Skipper Laidlaw, Denton and De Luca are back this week for the visit of Leinster, left reeling from a surprise home defeat to Northampton in the Heineken Cup. Only Shane Jennings remains in the pack from that game, but Leo Cullen returns as captain and the back line boasts Springbok Zane Kirchner, Brian O’Driscoll, Luke Fitzgerald and half-backs Ian Madigan and Isaac Boss, so it is hardly under-strength.

Solomons was not tempted to change his plans and retain the team that claimed victory on Sunday, knowing that most fit players will get their opportunity to shine over the next month.

“To do well in competitions you need a good squad with depth and we have a very tough period here with a lot of games coming up in a short period,” he added.

“I felt the players had the ability [against Gloucester] and it was up to them to showcase their talent and they did that pretty well, but they understand that we’re all part of a squad and everybody’s positive about it.”


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