David Denton has backed under pressure Edinburgh Rugby coach Alan Solomons to turn fortunes around after a record Guinness PRO12 loss – starting tomorrow against Scarlets at Murrayfield.
And 22 times capped Denton, recovering from a torn hamstring tendon, insisted: “It is important to remind everyone we are not a s*** team because a lot of younger players might (now) think like that.”
A 13-62 loss at Ospreys was the latest setback to befall Edinburgh who have won just once in eight league matches going back to last season and prospects aren’t enhanced by the fact they have beaten tomorrow’s rivals Scarlets only once in eight meetings. But a defiant Denton, who hopes to return in November, said: “Everybody is 100 per cent behind Solly (Alan Solomons). He is a very, very good coach. I’ve never seen anyone work so hard.
“Solly will be there from seven in the morning and until 5 or 6 every night. He’s very passionate about rugby and when I spoke to him about why he gave up being a lawyer he said it was because it is rugby he loves.
“Alan knows his stuff and our goals haven’t changed.”
Denton appeared anxious to put the season thus far, in which Edinburgh opened with a win at Munster before losing at home to Connacht, into perspective.
Insisting that the narrow pre-season friendly defeat by Leicester (0-45 losers at Bath last weekend) should be a reference point as well as the Munster win, he declared: “We went toe-to-toe with Leicester and at Munster came out on top in a physical battle. That’s where we go to (for answers).”
Nevertheless, Denton believes tomorrow’s match is a “must-win”. “It’s good we are back at Murrayfield tomorrow in familiar surroundings. The Ospreys result was a speed bump, a big speed bump admittedly, and a rude awakening. But we need to make sure we learned.
“That’s why Scarlets is a must-win and, because it happened at home, that is why we see the Connacht loss as just as big a loss as the Ospreys one.
“Rugby is about control and while the first points are going to be important it is more important we assert our dominance, our physicality.
“If we smash the first scrum, the first breakdown, have a good first carry and tackle you can be pretty sure we will put in a strong performance.
“We’ve lost two games in the league this season, one we should have won (Connacht) and one where we should at least have come away with a bonus point (Ospreys)
“In times like these you stick together.
“You make sure everyone has each other’s backs, we back each other up.”
Edinburgh haven’t won at Murrayfield in the league since December 20, 2013 albeit they did get a victory at Meggetland when the international pitch was being re-laid because of a parasitic infection.
“The issue last week was we didn’t have any experience anywhere,” said the back row, adding: “I was watching at home and most of the experienced players were in my living room.”
Scotland captain Grant Gilchrist is in line to return from injury as Edinburgh Rugby seek to quickly put a horror showing against Ospreys behind them when they face Scarlets at Murrayfield tomorrow.
But as Gilchrist, 24, gets ready to take a seasonal bow after undergoing surgery on an ankle problem, there is a question mark over experienced prop Wicus Blaauw, who is understood to have a leg injury. He came off the bench for an Edinburgh second string against Glasgow on Monday, having missed the start of the Pro12 season.
Second row Gilchrist, 24, went under the knife on returning from Scotland’s summer tour.
A return tomorrow for Gilchrist would be in keeping with Edinburgh coach Alan Solomons’ predicted return date. Others who played on Monday and could be involved include Roddy Grant and new signings Alan Dell and Brett Thompson.