Skinner up for the challenge against ‘quality’ Castres

Skinner up for the challenge against ‘quality’ Castres

Scotland lock Sam Skinner is expecting a tough contest when taking on Castres Olympique in France this Sunday (15 January, kick-off 1pm GMT), with the Top 14 side known for their ferocious home record and passionate support.

A win at Stade Pierre-Fabre would significantly boost Edinburgh’s chances of reaching the knockout stages of Europe, however Skinner knows that Edinburgh will need to be at their best to secure a win at one of rugby’s most formidable venues.

“This competition is about winning every game pretty much so it is vitally important we get a win away in Europe this weekend,” said Skinner.

“France is one of the toughest places to go in European rugby and when you look at their home record it is pretty strong so it will be an extremely tough game for us.

“I have been parts of squads that have lost there a couple of times. They are a quality side and we are really excited for the challenge.”

Skinner picked up Player of the Match in last weekend’s bonus-point win against Zebre Parma, putting in an inspired shift at the heart of the Edinburgh’s pack.

The lock is one of Edinburgh’s most experienced players and now believes he is now starting to showcase the leadership and influence that made him one of the club’s most exciting signings of late.

He continued: “I have come to Edinburgh and I want to show why they wanted to sign me, to prove my worth a little bit.

“I put the pressure on myself to do that and we have a heavy rotated squad and i want to be one of the guys who others try to follow at times.

“That is my mindset going into the game. They let me act as I wish, and I think if I play well it will help others play well, right?

“It is about getting the leadership and balance right and we knew we had a younger squad and it was important I stepped up physically and verbally as well.

“It was important for us to get the five points and it gives us a foundation to build on now.

“The performance was not perfect, we know that for sure, but we showed some win strong characteristics and our mind set that helped us get the win.

“So if we can build on that we can get the wins going again which is easier said than done.”

Edinburgh will need that same winning mindset when travelling to face Castres this weekend, with the lock expecting the hosts to field a much stronger XV than the side that featured at DAM Health Stadium a month ago.

“I think they played a rotated side at our place and were still pretty strong, so we would be pretty foolish to think nothing less than facing a pretty strong outfit at the weekend.”

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