Blair: “That’s our best win of the season so far.”

Blair: “That’s our best win of the season so far.”

Head Coach Mike Blair described his side’s last-gasp bonus point victory against Zebre Parma as Edinburgh’s ‘best win of the season so far’ after Paddy Harrison secured all five points with a 78th minute try.

Edinburgh trailed 10-17 with 14 minutes to go before Connor Boyle’s pushover score and Harrison’s winner secured maximum points for the hosts who had lead 10-0 at half-time.

“I’m proud. I genuinely believe that’s our best win of the season so far,” said Blair.

“The position we put ourselves in, with a really stiff breeze when all the momentum was with Zebre, to come back into the game as we did after the results we’ve had in the past few weeks, is massive for the club.

“I actually felt confident that we would get back into the game. I genuinely have so much belief in this group of players. We just have to keep learning.

“We repeated some of the mistakes of the past few weeks, but I asked the players to show character and I believe they showed it in the way they came back to get the bonus-point win. It’s something we can really build on.

“We lose that game and it puts us near the bottom end. Now we are top eight, but I know other teams have a game in hand and it is back in our hands again.”

Trailing heading into the latter stages of the contest, Blair called on replacements to change the momentum in the match, with Fijian star Viliame Mata and match-winner Harrison both shining in late cameos.

Blair continued: “Players with different experience came on and had an impact.

“Paddy Harrison is still in our academy but was really gutsy and showed a huge amount of skill to nail his throws in the conditions.

“Bill Mata came on with the bit between his teeth and Ben Vellacott was excellent. I’m really pleased with the subs as they all did well.

“Paddy is a brilliant guy to have around the club. He is confident and backs himself. He will take the ball on more than others.

“In pressure situations he will run the ball. He is quick. His first game against Ulster two and a half seasons ago he made an impact ball in hand.

“Our warm-up game last year he came on for two minutes and scored in two minutes. He has come on in important times and it is important we develop him.”

Edinburgh now turn their attention to the Heineken Champions Cup with an away clash against Castres Olympique next up on Sunday 15 January, before returning to face Saracens at DAM Health Stadium a week later on Sunday 22 January.

“I honestly believe we are showing traits that are important to enable us to win these games. That character.

“Going to Castres is one of the toughest places to go in France, in Europe with the crowd and the size of their pack, with the record they have. We have shown in the last five games we can play. We just need to put it together, that is the key.”

Spread the word

Newsletter Sign-up

Sign-up for our newsletter today to receive the latest updates, content and releases from Edinburgh Rugby.


Principal Partners