Dave Denton has drawn on the old showbiz saying ‘leave ’em smiling’ when emphasising the extent to which his Edinburgh team require a positive performance in tonight’s seasonal swansong at Leinster.
Edinburgh roll down the curtain on the back of a 12-55 home defeat by Munster and Denton stresses the importance of sending all concerned off into the summer feeling some contentment rather than recrimination.
“You are always going to be judged on your last result and we don’t want to be remembered for Munster,” said Denton, who is restored to No.8 after a second-row shift.
Last weekend’s result was the first occasion a team had shipped a half century of points at home in the Pro12 since Glasgow enjoyed a 60-point romp at Newport Gwent Dragons last year.
“We were all very down. It was embarrassing. We never want to be put in a position where people question our desire to play for Edinburgh,” said Denton in referring to inevitable fall-out. “It should not really be done (to question commitment). There’s no question everyone is really giving 100 per cent and doing as well as you can. It is about preparing for the next game and remembering the wins we have had over Gloucester, away, and Perpignan, Munster, Ospreys and Leinster at home.
“There are times, though, when things just don’t go your way. The players are tired after a very long season. Most of the starting players have played eighty minutes of every game.”
Denton himself has started 27 matches in the past 12 months including internationals and is poised to go off on tour with Scotland. However, he is still able to enthuse over forward planning by Edinburgh coach Alan Solomons.
“As a team we worked really hard pre-season but it wasn’t necessarily suited for the way Alan wanted us to play.
“The big difference is what we have always made sure our legs and lungs were prepared for a long season and a high-intensity game. Alan wants us prepared for physicality which is the difference and often that is the most tiring part of rugby.
“The game we play is all about commitment and impact.”
Such a style will horrify many purists, particularly those who believe that rugby is – and always will be – a game of evasion. However, Denton insists: “It’s the way the game is going and a very South African approach.”
Edinburgh: Bezuidenhout, Beard, Scott, Strauss, Visser, Leonard, Laidlaw (captain), Dickinson, Ford, Nel, Gilchrist, B Toolis, Coman, Denton, Leonardi. Subs: Hilterbrand, Blaauw, Berghan, A Toolis, Basilaia, Hart, Francis, Atiga