Will Helu hoping return to Europe will boost Edinburgh

Edinburgh's Will Helu
Edinburgh's Will Helu
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Edinburgh wing Will Helu is hoping that the change of scene back to European rugby can be the catalyst for a stuttering season to be put back on track.

The Tonga internationalist made a try-scoring comeback from a long-term hamstring injury in last Friday’s 31-22 loss at Ospreys – the team’s second straight loss in Wales after a defeat by Dragons.

While sharing the frustration of the squad as their Guinness PRO12 record slipped to an unsatisfactory record of seven defeats from ten, Helu was pleased to get his first run-out of the season and is looking to kick on in Saturday night’s Challenge Cup visit of Stade Francais.

“That was my first game back and it was a tough result as well to a good Ospreys side,” said the 30-year-old. “We’ll regroup, different mindset, different focus for the European Challenge Cup.”

Helu said that the mood in the camp was one of frustration but not pessimism.

“It’s always grim the first couple of days when you’re trying to get over a tough loss,” he said. “As the week goes you just need to put things to rest and just learn from the mistakes.

“Every week we try and get better – you don’t go out there trying to lose. As a team and individually we need to control what we can control.”

Facing a French side always presents a different, and often unpredictable challenge, and Helu is looking forward to an exotic break from the PRO12 bread and butter.

“You never know what you’re going to get from a French side,” he said of Stade Francais. “We’ve got to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

“They’re a tough side, there are a lot of individuals there with the X-factor, backs and forwards. There are a few threats there that we need to take care of.

“It’s a massive boost to be back at home. Apart from Zebre and Leinster, the games we’ve had at home have been really positive for us and the crowd has got behind us.”

“The Harlequins game was massive [a 36-35 win in Edinburgh’s last European outing], and the boys are really looking forward to getting back to Murrayfield and making it as uncomfortable as possible at the weekend for a tough French side.”