Savala: “We need to finish our opportunities.”
Confidence is the name of the game for Charlie Savala, a young stand-off who relishes the big game occasion and being put in the spotlight at number 10.
Therefore it’s no surprise that Savala could not wait to test himself against Glasgow Warriors in the opening leg of the 1872 Cup, having been handed the start for the high stakes derby at Scotstoun Stadium.
Savala, 22, played with a calmness and maturity you’d expect from a stand-off ten years his senior and despite his side falling just short on the night, the playmaker loved every minute of the occasion.
“It was awesome. It was a different week to what I’m usually used to having been handed the starts,” explained Savala.
“There was a good feeling around the club, coming here and playing in front of a packed crowd was awesome. It was a disappointing result but we’ll get them back this week.
Savala came into Friday night’s derby full of confidence having come on as an early replacement in the previous weekend’s Heineken Champions Cup victory against Castres Olympique.
The stand-off capped off an impressive performance against the French Top14 side with a well-taken try while his playmaking abilities were on show throughout the bonus-point win.
He continued: “I’ve really found my feet, I’m really comfortable playing fly-half. I’m growing week on week.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence with the boys around me. Playing off good ball is what you always want as a fly-half. I feel like our forward pack is very strong and that allows us to play off the front foot most of the time.
“In terms of work-ons, it’s just sensing that momentum shift when we are looking to play, when we are looking to transfer the pressure.
“My attacking mindset is great but there are times that we look to manage the game, look to transfer pressure, so that’s an area of my game I’ve been working on.
“With Blair [Kinghorn] and Jaco [van der Walt] it’s always a good battle. We are all good mates but at the same time we all push each other.
“We all have different strengths and we all have things to work on but I feel being a part of those three has been great.”
Savala will be hoping to continue his rich vein of form as Edinburgh Rugby host Glasgow Warriors in the 1872 Cup decider this Friday night (30 December, kick-off 7.35pm).
A win by six points or more would see Edinburgh Rugby retain the 1872 Cup and the stand-off is confident he and his teammates will improve on Friday’s opening leg performance which saw the capital side grab a losing bonus-point in defeat.
“We think we should have won the game. We played the better rugby,” said Savala.
“It was a weird game to be part of. It was one of those ones when we didn’t really land a punch until 60, 65 minutes.
“We wanted to stay in the fight from the start. I think there were a few crucial moments that we will look back on and think, ‘we could have won the game’, but we take a lot of positives going into Friday night’s second leg.
“We sort of wanted to manage the territory. The territory battle is massive. This time last year when we played them, we dominated that and that’s the reason we won the game.
“We tried to manage territory quite well, but our breakdown was a key area. Glasgow were hotter than us and put us on the back foot.”
Edinburgh finished Friday night’s opening leg derby defeat with ten points on the board thanks to a try from Connor Boyle and a penalty/conversion from Emiliano Boffelli.
It was one of Edinburgh’s lowest scoring matches of the season with Savala eager for his side to take the learnings from the loss and improve on their attacking blueprint.
He continued: “We just need to finish our opportunities, to be honest. When we are on top of them, we’ve got to stay on top of them.
“Our breakdown’s key, stacking those quick rucks, and next week that’ll be key for us.
“We always look at the positives, every week. For me as a 10, we can’t go in looking at the negatives.
“I like to play the game with a positive mindset. I like to play the game in an upbeat tempo. If that can reflect on other players around me then that’s great, but as a team, we have that positive mindset.
“We’re now back at home. We’ll always put on a performance. We’ll take our medicine, our learnings, there will be things we look back on and work on. The breakdown has got to be better this weekend.”