Anton Bresler loving extra Edinburgh responsibility

Anton Bresler says it has not been difficult to find motivation for this European tie
Anton Bresler says it has not been difficult to find motivation for this European tie
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Edinburgh lock Anton Bresler is one of the few survivors from the starting XV which went on to be humbled 38-6 by London Irish last week and is keen to make amends against the same opposition at BT Murrayfield tonight.

The 27-year-old is one of only two second rows currently fit and will pack down with Alex Toolis as the Capital outfit look to keep their European Challenge Cup hopes alive.

An injury crisis in the second and back rows has left coach Alan Solomons down to the bare bones and increased the responsibility on the shoulders of Bresler, but it is something the Namibia-born former Sharks forward relishes.

“It’s actually quite good, it gets me going,” he said of his extra work load. “For me personally I need to play to get better and comfortable. I kind of enjoy to be constantly be playing.

“The body does take a bit of a knock week in, week out when the games are really tough. It takes it out of you so you just need to take your recovery seriously, eat the right foods.

“That’s why you play rugby, you want to get out there and enjoy it and look forward to the games. I actually haven’t thought ‘oh man, I’ve been playing so much, I need a rest’. I’m sure after a while I’ll feel it physically but at the moment I feel in a good state. I’m feeling good. The coaches look after you and make sure you are well recovered for the games.”

Solomons has made ten changes, two of them positional, from the starting XV which went on to leak six tries in Reading.

Two thirds of his international front row are restored, though Al Dickinson is unable to join Ross Ford and WP Nel due to a calf injury and young prop Rory Sutherland gets another chance.

Scotland duo John Hardie and Matt Scott come back in at openside and centre respectively, while the first choice half-back pairing of Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and Phil Burleigh is restored.

With Will Helu suffering a family bereavement and returning to New Zealand, Michael Allen keeps his place at outside centre alongside Scott, with Damien Hoyland coming back in on the right wing and Tom Brown switching to the left.

Solomons said: “The players who were involved last week have a chance to put it right. There’s not a lot of them but you’ve got both locks, Cornell, Rory Sutherland and a few in the backs.

“We work as a group and are in it together and they need and want to take that responsibility to put it right.”

The South African was asked if he regretted naming such an unfamiliar team last weekend but argued: “We didn’t have much choice. Our front row was completely shot and, in fact, Dicko [Al Dickinson] isn’t playing this week because he has a calf injury. They’re also national players and have to be looked after.

“John Hardie was also in the same boat. Matt Scott’s neck was bothering him, Phil Burleigh had a calf injury and Mike Coman had taken a knock.”

Edinburgh are feeling the strain in the back-five of the scrum, with only two recognised locks currently fit. After being spoiled for choice when it comes to loose forwards at the start of the season, injuries to Roddy Grant (knee), Nasi Manu (neck), Hamish Watson (knee) and the departure of David Denton to Bath, has forced Solomons to bring youngster Magnus Bradbury back from the sevens squad, and he will be on the bench along with fellow Scotland Under-20 back-rower Jamie Ritchie.

Bresler, meanwhile, has vowed there will be a much-more switched on display following last weekend’s debacle.

He said: “We were obviously hurting. But we’ve got this mindset that after losing you take what you have to from that game and leave the rest in the past, look forward and move on. You don’t want to keep negativity in your mind.

“Individually we weren’t in the right mindset last week and that’s not a difficult thing to fix. It’s your own job, not Alan or the coaches’ job, to get yourself in the right frame of mind.”

Scotland flanker Blair Cowan returns to the London Irish starting line-up and their coach Tom Coventry said: “We know it is going to be tough going up to Murrayfield but we also know how big the win would be in terms of trying to qualify from the group.”

Edinburgh Rugby: Greig Tonks; Damien Hoyland; Michael Allen; Matt Scott; Tom Brown; Phil Burleigh; Sam Hidalgo-Clyne; Rory Sutherland; Ross Ford; WP Nel; Anton Bresler; Alex Toolis; Mike Coman (c); John Hardie; Cornell Du Preez. Subs: Neil Cochrane, Allan Dell, Simon Berghan, Jamie Ritchie, Magnus Bradbury, Sean Kennedy, Andries Strauss, Jack Cuthbert.

London Irish: Topsy Ojo, Alex Lewington, Tom Fowlie, Johnny Williams, Andrew Fenby, Shane Geraghty (c), Darren Allinson, Tom Court, Gerard Ellis, Ben Franks, Eoin Sheriff, Nic Rouse, Blair Cowan, Conor Gilsenan, Ofisa Treviranus. Subs: Jimmy Stevens, Tom Smallbone, Leo Halavatau, David Sisi, Joe Trayfoot, Scott Steele, Chris Noakes, Fergus Mulchrone.