Hidalgo-Clyne praises Hodge’s impact on Edinburgh team

Sam Hidalgo-Clyne wants a repeat outcome when Edinburgh lock horns with Stade again tomorrow. Pic: SNS
Sam Hidalgo-Clyne wants a repeat outcome when Edinburgh lock horns with Stade again tomorrow. Pic: SNS
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Sam Hidalgo-Clyne has enjoyed his last two starts for Edinburgh Rugby and the scrum-half believes that the attacking philosophy under acting head coach Duncan Hodge is serving the team well.

Edinburgh came from 20-3 behind at half-time to defeat Stade Francais 28-23 on Saturday and remain unbeaten in pool five of the European Rugby Challenge Cup.

The two sides lock horns again tomorrow at the Stade Jean Bouin, with Edinburgh knowing that another positive result would edge them ever closer to the knock-out stages.

And Hidalgo-Clyne, the Scotland cap who has won the starting number nine jersey back from Sean Kennedy of late, feels that the team are in a good place to go to Paris and score tries.

They have scored 123 points in the three European outings against Timisoara Saracens, Harlequins and Stade so far and the 23-year-old said: “There is more of an ethos and mentality to really score tries and go for it under Duncan.

“We are always mindful of our attack shape and looking to counter off other team’s mistakes.

“As we are doing that we will make more mistakes during games because we are throwing offloads and it is a risk, but any good team does it and we are finding the balance at the moment.

“We are scoring some good tries and creating opportunities. We also pride ourselves on our defence and we don’t want to let that go, but [defence coach] Pete Wilkins has been great with us regarding that.

“This is an exciting time to be at the club because we are working on new things under Duncan all of the time.”

Earlier in the campaign, at the end of Alan Solomons’ reign and also when Hodge first took over, Hidalgo-Clyne had to be patient and make do with a place on the bench on a number of occasions.

He looked sharp against the Ospreys in the PRO12 earlier this month and scored a try in the match against Stade at BT Murrayfield – and supporters will be hoping he is back to his best.

He said: “I am working hard and taking in what the coaches say to me and away from training I am working on my skill set and doing the extra bits that you can as a scrum-half.

“Since he came in as acting head coach, Duncan has told me to just keep working on my game management and my core skills like my passing.

“I guess perhaps the coaches previously thought parts of my game were not up to scratch, but I put in a lot of effort into them and in the last couple of games I have been reaping the rewards.

“The big thing for me through the whole process of trying to improve as an all-round player was not forgetting my running game.

“I have had to find that balance and not forget what I am good at and let other things take care of themselves.

“You have peaks and troughs in a career, I just need to do what I can and hopefully keep starting and do as the coach asks.”

Hodge was as angry as anyone has seen him since he took up the acting head coach role at the weekend after the way the first half panned out.

He is seen as a mild-mannered character, but he can mix it when required and Hidalgo-Clyne is enjoying working with him.

“He was frustrated by the situation because we had opportunities and didn’t take them. We planned to turn Stade early doors in defence and we just didn’t do anything like that,” Hidalgo-Clyne explained.

“We also gave away penalties and it wasn’t like us at all in the first half. It took a big effort from the coaches at half time to sort out why we were and weren’t doing certain things.

“They let us know what we needed to do to exploit the space.

“Hodgey is great as a coach. He is always looking into technical things in training and changes things up and keeps them interesting.

“At times you need honesty and he has been good with us so far, we need to start paying him and the other coaches back with some more good results.”