Grant Gilchrist has called on his Edinburgh Rugby side to bounce back in the same way they did from a previous record defeat when tackling Scarlets in the Guinness Pro12 at BT Murrayfield tonight.
Last spring Edinburgh crashed to an unprecedented 55-12 home loss against Munster before immediately heading off to Dublin where they pushed champions Leinster close before falling to a 15-13 defeat.
It was a remarkable turnaround and something similar needs to happen tonight if the memory of a 62-13 thrashing at Ospreys – the heaviest defeat in Edinburgh’s Celtic League history – is to be eased.
“The way we played in that game [v Leinster] was as good as we played all season,” said Gilchrist who will come off the bench tonight for a seasonal bow following ankle surgery and in stressing bounce-back-ability can happen.
But, overall, he stressed: “We can’t have these dips all the time and results like last week.”
Referring to how Edinburgh lost to Connacht a week previously on their only home outing so far, he said: “On the back of two pretty poor performances we now have a point to prove and it has to come out of us against Scarlets.
“It’s early in the season and there’s a long way to go but we can’t hide away. It’s massive. We’ve got to see a reaction.
“The result is huge but first and foremost there is a group of players with a point to prove. We’ve got to see that.
“We can’t beat around the bush. It’s got to look as though we are a team who are desperate because that’s what it is.
“We’ve got to learn and park it. The best way to park it is with a short turnaround so as to put down a marker straight away.”
Edinburgh leaked nine tries – another record – and Gilchrist said any revival would start with tightened defence.
“Scarlets are good in open play and, watching their last few games, if they get a sniff of open field rugby they are top quality. They handle well from one to 15.
“As soon as a game breaks up they are dangerous. We need to look at our defence that was far from perfect. It’ll start there.”
Meanwhile, coach Alan Solomons has defended a decision to make eight changes a week after seven alterations to the side eventually thrashed at Ospreys.
The head coach insisted that it had not been a case of heads going down as much as a “lack of composure” when four tries were conceded in the final quarter.
“There is no problem in terms of the synergy within the team,” said Solomons in response to a question about the need for continuity.
“It was more about [lack of] leadership and now they [the players] understand that,” added Solomons.