Hodge tells his play­ers form book goes out the win­dow

The Herald - Herald Sport - - RUGBY UNION - STU­ART BATH­GATE

ED­IN­BURGH have the ideal chance to make it four wins in a row tonight when they host bot­tom-of-the-ta­ble Ze­bre in the PRO12, but Dun­can Hodge has warned his team there is no room for com­pla­cency merely be­cause they have found a vein of form.

The act­ing head coach has been pleased by the com­mit­ment his squad has shown in their re­cent vic­to­ries, against Tre­viso in the league and Timisoara and Har­lequins in the Chal­lenge Cup, but he has in­sisted their task now is to avoid the kind of in­con­sis­tency that has crept into their play too of­ten in re­cent sea­sons.

“We’ll go into the game with some con­fi­dence,” said Hodge, whose team en­joyed a dra­matic 36-35 win over their English op­po­nents last week. “But this week has been about main­tain­ing those stan­dards. We don’t want to drop at all – we want to keep im­prov­ing.

“There were some pluses last week, es­pe­cially in terms of de­fence and some of our at­tack, but we were a bit be­hind with our kick-offs and some of our for­ward play. We’ve cer­tainly not put to­gether the full pack­age by any means.

“There are al­ways go­ing to be ebbs and flows, but the big­gest thing for me is that if we get a lot of build­ing blocks in place then hope­fully we won’t have the troughs and spikes and we can start to be con­sis­tent over a long pe­riod of time.”

Hodge has made four changes to the side that beat Har­lequins, all in the pack. Stu­art McI­nally re­places Ross Ford at hooker and new sign­ing Felipe Ar­regui comes in at tight­head prop for the in­jured WP Nel, while in the back row Bill Mata and John Hardie are in­cluded at the ex­pense of Nasi Manu, who is also in­jured, and Hamish Wat­son. Mag­nus Brad­bury moves from blind­side to num­ber eight to ac­com­mo­date Mata, who makes his home de­but.

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