Gilchrist in­sists it’s time for Ed­in­burgh to make their big state­ment

Evening Times - - LAST WORD - Su­san Egel­staff

ED­IN­BURGH lock Grant Gilchrist be­lieves that his side are ready this sea­son to make a real im­pact in the Guin­ness PRO14.

The cap­i­tal club reached the play­offs two years ago but last sea­son, were in dis­ap­point­ing league form, fin­ish­ing only fifth in their con­fer­ence. How­ever, Richard Cock­er­ill’s men have been in ex­cel­lent form so far this sea­son and cur­rently sit third in their con­fer­ence after six league games.

What has been miss­ing from Ed­in­burgh, be­lieves Gilchrist, is con­sis­tency but the 29-year-old is con­fi­dent there is the strength in depth in the squad this sea­son to en­sure there are far fewer blips in form this year.

“I see this as our state­ment sea­son. We’ve had a cou­ple of years where we have shown a bit of growth, and now we need to de­liver this year,” he said.

“Ev­ery tour­na­ment we are in it to win it, but if you look at teams that have gone on to win sil­ver­ware they haven’t just got there overnight, they are on an up­ward path.”

Ed­in­burgh face Munster at In­de­pen­dence Park to­mor­row evening and Gilchrist has ad­mit­ted that it will be vi­tal if his side are to achieve their goal of qual­i­fy­ing for the play-offs of this sea­son’s PRO14. Munster are cur­rently top of Ed­in­burgh’s con­fer­ence, with the Scots in third place after six games and while Gilchrist knows de­feat­ing the Ir­ish is no easy task, he is well aware of the sig­nif­i­cance to his side’s sea­son if they could grab a vic­tory.

And with the Ir­ish de­feat­ing Ed­in­burgh in the PRO14 play-offs two sea­sons ago and again last year in the Cham­pi­ons Cup quarter fi­nals, a win on Fri­day would be ex­tra sweet for Gilchrist and his team-mates. This was al­ways go­ing to be a huge game. We knew it was com­ing up in the cal­en­dar.

“We are un­der no il­lu­sions as to its im­por­tance for our sec­tion of the league – it is a chance for us to close the gap on first place,” he said.

“We want to be in the play-offs at the end of this sea­son so this a great op­por­tu­nity for us to go out there and put our­selves in a great po­si­tion in the league.

“It’s a dou­ble-pointer. Munster are top dogs in our pool at the mo­ment so if we can go out there and get a re­sult then we are mak­ing a se­ri­ous state­ment that we are con­tenders for the play-offs.”

We have shown a bit of growth, and now we need to de­liver

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