Edinburgh Rugby back-row powerhouse Nasi Manu is confident the squad can overcome their mixed form in the Guinness PRO12 Championship.
The 28-year-old believes the team’s inconsistency has its roots in the mental approach of the players and that lessons can be learned from New Zealand, where his experience with the Highlanders was in contrast to how things are done at Edinburgh.
“In terms of preparation, we are pretty good as a team. You’ve got to be consistently good in your preparation,” he said. “Individually I think that not everyone is mentally preparing well. For the games against Harlequins and Ulster, every player was up the whole week and ready to go. You could see that mental edge.”
However, while he is happy with his own process, he acknowledges that it might not transfer to others.
“I understand what works well for me, to play well and to be there right from the whistle. I have my own preparation in terms of what I do off the field. Every player is different,” he added.
“Back home we had mental coaches making you understand how your mind works,” he explained, pointing out that an effective mentality can outweigh other attributes. “One player could be much stronger but another player could have more of a mental strength and be a better player, even though he is physically not stronger.”
Manu will want that mental strength to feature in the build-up to tomorrow’s match away to Ospreys. He admits it was tough to sit through the examination of last Sunday’s defeat away to Dragons in which mistakes were exposed.
“It was a pretty tough review and when things aren’t going right you have a magnifying glass and you’re looking at all the things we need to change. I think, for me, we just made too many mistakes,” he said, highlighting the turnover count as the crucial element in the team’s downfall.
“It puts a lot of pressure on our defence, particularly being unstructured in defence. We have to work harder to get back into our system, so for me it was just execution and accuracy at the breakdown, all those little things that add up to not quite beating a tough Dragons side.”