Blair: “When we were on it, we were really good.”
Head Coach Mike Blair praised his side’s attacking prowess and ability to turn pressure into points as Edinburgh Rugby scored six tries to secure a bonus-point win away to Zebre Parma on Saturday afternoon.
The capital side had four scores and the bonus-point in the bag after 30 minutes following an impressive opening period, but a stop-start second-half meant Edinburgh were unable to accelerate through the gears as 14-man Zebre upped the intensity after the break.
“I thought that when we were on it today, we were really good,” said Blair.
“This was a Zebre team that have scored a lot of tries at home and have been an improving unit over the last six months.
“To come away with a bonus-point win with the number of guys we didn’t have available was really impressive.
Blair’s side dominated the first half physically, winning the breakdown battle from the get-go – standards the Head Coach described as ‘non-negotiables’.
“We talked about that at half-time. We talked about setting our own standards about what we did that resulted in a scoring those tries in the first half,” continued Blair.
“That was around our physicality, the pressure we put on the opposition and clear thinking.
“We asked at half-time to maintain those standards. We scored just after half-time, which was really well created. But the game was so stop start. I don’t know how you stop that.
“It seemed that the Zebre front row went down at any opportunity. I don’t know if they were struggling or if it was a tactic. On top of the four water breaks you have in a game; it slows everything down and probably reduces it as a spectacle.”
Edinburgh secured all five points on the road without the services of 10 of their top Scotland internationals, while capped trio Ben Vellacott (scrum-half), James Lang (centre) and Stuart McInally (hooker) also missed out due to injury.
“What we have tried to do is slowly integrate guys in. We knew this game was always coming with us not having our Scotland internationals,” explained Blair.
“What we tried to do was make sure that our potential starting team had time on the pitch in the past couple of weeks, whether with Super6 or off the bench with us.
“It meant that the starting back row started the game last week. Hodgson had come off the bench last week, Sam Skinner played last week. Guys had all played rugby.
“It was great that Wes [Goosen] got his first game for the club. He has been pretty frustrated with the start of his season with his niggling injuries, but I thought he did some really positive stuff. Nick Auterac played his first game as well and I’m delighted those guys have joined the club.”