'Evolving' Edinburgh open Pro12 account at Meggetland

By Jamie LyallBBC Scotland
Meggetland Stadium
Edinburgh play their first Pro12 match of the season at Meggetland Stadium

Edinburgh will look to add flair to their structured, uncompromising forwards game plan this season, head coach Alan Solomons has announced.

The capital side kick off their Pro12 season at Meggetland against Leinster on Friday, 4 September.

"We built the side through our conditioning, our defence, our set-piece and a structured game plan," said Solomons.

"Now this season we need to evolve our attack."

Edinburgh have been temporarily dislodged from their home stadium to allow preparatory work for a concert at Murrayfield the week after the Pro12 opener.

South African Solomons inherited a disparate playing group largely bereft of order and direction upon taking the reins in the Scottish capital two seasons ago.

The rebuilding process has been challenging, with Edinburgh recording consecutive eighth-place finishes, but reaching the European Challenge Cup final in May.

"This season I would like us to be a side that is capable of playing in a variety of ways," added Solomons. "To do that we need to continue to evolve our attack and like all teams, where we can win with style, absolutely we want to do that.

"Our outside backs on that are key. What's key this season are guys like Chris Dean, Damien Hoyland, that those boys come through. There's no doubt they've got the wherewithal; they don't have the experience, but we need some firepower in the outside backs.

"Bearing in mind our injuries (last season), we lacked a little bit of that firepower and that also played its influence.

"We have spent a lot of time in pre-season on conditioning games, but we've spent a lot of time on our skills. We've really worked like crazy on that. You've got to understand it's a building process, we're looking this season to hit that balance."

Alan Solomons addresses the media at Murrayfield
Alan Solomons wants a team that can tackle a range of strategies

The 65-year-old, who coached throughout his homeland, and had stints in charge of Ulster and Northampton Saints on British soil, highlighted Scotland centre Matt Scott's lengthy absence through shoulder problems as the most detrimental among a spree of injuries to key players.

Rugby World Cup duty is set to deprive Edinburgh of a hefty forwards contingent, but they are perhaps not likely to be as depleted as many of their domestic counterparts.

Capitalising on the early Pro12 fixtures could prove crucial to attaining the top six spot and European Champions Cup qualification Solomons has benchmarked.

"We are going to miss, for sure, our whole front-row and Stuart (McInally)," he said. "Grant Gilchrist, for sure. Dave Denton, for sure. But we've got a good enough pack to cope with that.

"Everybody's the same, we can't afford injuries, but it is important we hit the ground running in this thing. The players are aware of it. The young boys are ready for it, they're excited about it."

After confirming the capture of Tongan winger Otulea Katoa on Thursday, Solomons does not expect any further additions to his squad, although summer signing Michael Allen has sustained a shoulder injury.

"Not to my knowledge," he added. "We've got to see how we track, but our squad is pretty much done."

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