European Rugby Challenge Cup: Edinburgh's Hodge relishes Harlequins test

Edinburgh acting head coach Duncan Hodge
Edinburgh have scored 16 tries in their last two matches under Duncan Hodge

Edinburgh acting head coach Duncan Hodge is savouring the prospect of pitting his wits against Harlequins on Saturday.

Quins visit the Scottish capital in the European Rugby Challenge Cup after both teams won their opening games in Pool 5 convincingly.

"It's going to be a big test and it's one we're looking forward to," Hodge told BBC Scotland's Sportsound.

"It will be nice to be back in front of a home crowd on Saturday."

Hodge admitted his first three games in charge of Edinburgh following Alan Solomons' departure had presented a variety of "different challenges" but ones that he had relished nonetheless.

His debut in the hot seat was a 28-15 defeat at Connacht, followed by last week's 45-10 Pro12 home win over Treviso and Saturday's nine-try 59-17 win away to Romanian side Timisoara Saracens.

"It was quite unknown," said Hodge of the game against the Romanians.

"We had watched a lot of footage but that was of them in their own championship. They had a lot of local Romanians and quite a few foreigners as well.

"A lot of the stuff we worked on during the week came to fruition in the first half. We played well. Defensively we weren't as strong in the first half but we were better in the second.

Viliame Mata
Viliame Mata, the Fijian Olympic sevens gold medal winner, scored two tries in Romania

"They were a good side but we got away to a fast start. They lacked in a bit of confidence and we gained in some. That first 10-15 minutes was important."

Last season's beaten finalists Harlequins will arrive in Edinburgh in confident mood. They began their Challenge Cup campaign on Thursday with an impressive 43-21 home win over Stade Francais, with former Edinburgh wing Tim Visser scoring two of their seven tries.

Hodge said of Edinburgh's European pool: "It's exciting. It's been tough going away to Romania but it was good experience.

"We have two other very good teams in our group which will be great to test ourselves against and learn from. It's a good group to be in.

"We look forward to performing well and going up against one of the top teams in England.

"We are hoping for a big crowd. It's our job to back that up with a performance and give the fans plenty to cheer about."

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