Nick De Luca doubtful for Edinburgh’s must-win game

Head Coach Alan Solomons, left, and Nick De Luca speak after last week's Heineken Cup defeat

Head Coach Alan Solomons, left, and Nick De Luca speak after last week's Heineken Cup defeat

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Nick De Luca is believed to be an injury doubt for Edinburgh Rugby’s make-or-break Heineken European Cup clash with Gloucester at Kingsholm on Sunday.

The 41-cap Scotland centre completed a full 80 minutes of last weekend’s Murrayfield defeat by the same opposition, but is understood to have taken a knock and may miss out.

That is especially the case with coach Alan Solomons hinting afterwards that the defeat had left Edinburgh, who must win at Kingsholm, looking increasingly to their RaboDirect PRO12 programme at a time when the international contingent had come off the back of a tough Autumn Test series and may need rest.

If De Luca drops out, then Joaquin Dominguez could be given another chance to extend a deal due to expire soon.

Dominguez played in the Euro group match at Perpignan, replacing Matt Scott, whose hand injury means he is unlikely to be back until the Boxing Day clash with Glasgow.

Meanwhile, extra responsibility will fall on former All Black centre Ben Atiga as he continues to benefit from an extended run now that injury problems which blighted last season have started to recede.

Atiga is heartened by a result achieved by his former Auckland coach, Pat Lam, who was in charge when Connacht won at Toulouse last weekend.

“What made that result even more relevant was that we put 40 points past Connacht a week previously,” said Atiga.

“Having said that, I spoke to Pat Lam after our win and I have known him long enough to appreciate that there is always going to be a backlash to any defeat a team coached by him suffers.”

There are parallels between the Auckland team Atiga played in under Lam and the present situation at Edinburgh, where Alan Solomons has come in fresh and is looking to make a mark.

“Pat came in and put new structures in place but he was so successful the following season we won a (provincial) championship.

“Something similar could be happening at Edinburgh.”