Stevie Scott seeks Edinburgh win as key games loom

Stevie Scott, left, is 'in the right job'. Picture: Julie Bull
Stevie Scott, left, is 'in the right job'. Picture: Julie Bull
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EDINBURGH will go on the hunt for a third-consecutive home victory when they entertain Connacht on Friday night, and assistant coach Stevie Scott is hoping that success can be a launchpad for what could be a season defining month.

The Murrayfield men play Gloucester home and away in the Heineken Cup at the start of December, and having secured a surprise victory over Munster on the opening weekend of that tournament, they are still very much in contention to qualify out of Pool Six – so long as they can pick up at least one win in either of those games.

After that it is back to league action with a visit from Leinster, followed by the now traditional festive double-header against Glasgow Warriors.

“There are lots of big games there that we can target and it’s obviously important that you win your home matches if you want to be involved in the business end of the season – so this one on Friday is huge for us,” said Scott. “The same goes for the Heineken Cup.”

Scott is the only member of Edinburgh’s current management regime to have been involved last season. He took up the reins as interim head coach for the final five matches of that catastrophic campaign after Michael Bradley was relieved of his post. And, with a 60 per cent success rate in those games – including the impressive scalp of Ulster in his first outing in charge – Scott earned the right to a permanent role as forwards coach when Alan Solomons got the top job in the summer.

Solomons made it clear that he could not perform miracles and that his priority for the first party of the season, up until the Autumn Test break, would be getting a proper idea of the true potential of the squad.

As anticipated, the first few weeks of the season were tough going with Edinburgh losing four out of five games – but that European win over Munster followed by the first back-to-back league wins since March against Benetton Treviso and Zebre have given supporters hope.

The team may have suffered a setback last Friday in a painful 41-17 mauling in Ulster but they will not be the only team to come a cropper at Ravenhill this season and Scott is keen to reinforce Solomons’ mantra that we are witnessing an evolution rather than revolution.

“As Alan keeps on saying, we’ve had to do a lot of work during the first two to three months of the season because I was the only member of the current coaching regime here during the summer. Alan and [defence coach] Omar Mouneimne have come in wanting to put their systems in place – so it has taken time to get the boys used to and believing in the systems, and then putting them into the game,” said Scott.

“Now we just need to be consistent because we work hard and do a lot of good things to get the points on the board, but then leak easy points. That’s what happened last week. We worked really hard for the first 35 minutes but then made one or two mistakes and, all of a sudden, we were points down. We just need to make sure we get the full concentration for the full game.’

“We know we are going to be judged in every game – that is professional rugby and we are not hiding from that. As a team we are working hard to get better and the team is improving.

“Results don’t always show that but when you analyse it to the depth that we do as players and coaches, then you can see the small gains we are making, and, hopefully, those small gains will turn into bigger gains over the next few weeks.’

Scott makes no secret of the fact that, like the players, he has had to work very hard during the last three months to get in tune with the way that Solomons wants to do things.

There have been plenty of early mornings and late nights but the former hooker says that he is thriving in the new ultra-professional environment which Solomons is intent on developing at Murrayfield.

“I’ve been lucky enough to come through a decent coaching career having been here [at Edinburgh] with Andy Robinson, then at Sale in the Premiership with Tony Hanks and Bryan Redpath, then back here with two South Africans,” said Scott.

“So, as a young coach, that has been a massive boost to my development. There will always be differences and being able to bounce ideas off one another is one of the great things about coaching. At some point I want to be back doing what I was doing as head coach but, as part of my development, I am in the right job.”