It’s been a good start to the season for Edinburgh Rugby, but a little bit mixed in terms of the results. Munster at home in week one was a great opportunity to lay down a marker for the season, and although I think we played more of the rugby and did enough to win the game, we didn’t get the result on the scoreboard.
Munster do so well through their physicality, but we were winning collisions and dominating the set piece – and it’s not often you score a hat trick and still lose the game – but Munster being the team they are, they know how to win and that’s what they did. We took a lot from the game though, and we’ll look to build on it over the course of the season.
Going away to Cardiff was a great experience at the Arms Park and to come away with a last-minute win was a great result. We were expected to win against Zebre at home, but we did the job and then picked up a losing bonus point away at Leinster, which is not easy to do. They put more than 50 points on us last season, and we could have won the game at the weekend, so it shows that we are improving.
Our expectations have to be higher than winning two out of four matches, but in terms of where we are in the league, it’s a different world to last season when we lost a few games and started at the wrong end of the table. Being mid-table is a good platform to continue from, and we know what we need to work on.
Our penalty count has been slightly higher than our targets, and that’s something we need to be aware of, particularly in tight games against sides like Munster and Leinster. It cost us dearly against Munster, with some easy penalties that got them back in the game, and it’s something we can’t afford to do at this level.
I’ve been pleased with my form so far. Scoring six tries in three games is a great strike rate (I wasn’t involved against Leinster), but there’s so much more to rugby than scoring tries. I’m my own worst critic, and I know I have a lot to work on, particularly coming into the wet months over the winter – and here in Edinburgh, the weather certainly plays a part.
Michael Bradley keeps me abreast of the things I have to improve on and what will be important in the EMC Tests against New Zealand, South Africa and Tonga if I’m selected. I’ve only had a small taste of international rugby on the summer tour, and being able to play at Murrayfield Stadium in November would be incredible.
I’d also be lying if i said the Lions Tour wasn’t one of my goals. Every home nations player dreams of a call up for the tour, but all I can do is focus on Edinburgh Rugby and playing as well as I can, and then the rest will look after itself.
Newport away this weekend is the next challenge. They are a very physical team and we’ve let them dominate us in the past, so it will be another good test of how far we have improved – we’ll be looking for nothing less than a victory.
By Tim Visser (@timbovisser)