Solomons: We have to per­form strongly to right last week’s wrong

The Herald - Sport - - RUGBY UNION, GOLF - LEWIS STU­ART

IF ED­IN­BURGH’S play­ers thought Italy was tough last week, wait un­til they see what is in store for them in the west of Ire­land this week­end. Alan Solomons, their head coach, is in no doubt that his play­ers messed up the eas­ier of the two as­sign­ments and with the Scot­land in­ter­na­tion­als in his squad about to re­join train­ing af­ter the World Cup, those who have been rep­re­sent­ing the club are un­der pres­sure.

“The com­pe­ti­tion will heighten their per­for­mance,” he said. “If the squad is at full strength, which is very rare, then th­ese guys are com­peti­tors and they know the com­pe­ti­tion is com­ing.

“That is why they need to per­form strongly; they also need to per­form strongly to put right last week’s per­for­mance, which was well be­low our usual stan­dards.

“This game will be miles tougher. Play­ing in Italy is al­ways tough but, though Con­nacht have one or two in­juries, they have had very few play­ers away at the World Cup and Robbie Hen­shaw and Nathan White are both back in play, while we have 14 play­ers out with a com­bi­na­tion of in­juries and World Cup play­ers who need this ex­tra week.”

Solomons is in an odd po­si­tion. If you had turned to him in Au­gust and of­fered him four wins and a sin­gle de­feat from the open­ing phase of the sea­son, he would prob­a­bly have grabbed it. Now that that is their record, he is vis­i­bly an­noyed, not by the over­all record but by the na­ture of that de­feat at a ground where he knows most teams will be gun­ning for wins and try bonuses.

“I still feel it was a game we could have and should have won but I am pleased with the start we have had. I’m pleased for the team,” he said. “We didn’t play well and didn’t de­serve to win the game. Once your per­for­mance dips you start to find there are turnovers from knock-ons, balls lost in con­tact; at the breakdown with side en­tries and go­ing off your feet. All th­ese lit­tle things you don’t do well when your per­for­mance dips and that makes a huge dif­fer­ence.”

The im­por­tant chal­lenge the play­ers face this week is to put their last per­for­mance and the threat to their places as the rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the World Cup re­turn to one side and con­cen­trate on the im­me­di­ate task at hand in try­ing to down Con­nacht.

“We have to look at how we track at the week­end and then work out how we deal with the play­ers com­ing back, but it will be great to have all our Scot­tish boys again,” Solomons added. “This will be a much tougher game, I think the play­ers know that. What we have fo­cused on is that we have to lift our per­for­mance against them. We had a drop off af­ter the game against Ul­ster and now we need to de­liver an­other one close to that level; with­out that we don’t have a prospect of suc­cess.”

RE­AC­TION: Alan Solomons expects his Ed­in­burgh side to re­spond af­ter a poor dis­play in the 19-11 loss to Ze­bre

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