Edinburgh are being urged to be patient in their latest quest for Rabo Direct Pro 12 league points – by a former star who knows what it is like to win at Munster’s Thomond Park.
Marcus Di Rollo, now player-coach at Watsonians, was a member of a starting line-up comprising 15 past, present or future internationalists who posted Edinburgh’s previous victory, by 21-10, at the Limerick ground on Friday, October 13, 2006.
And, encouragingly, Di Rollo, who made exactly 100 Edinburgh appearances, sees some parallels between his team and the one that will play tonight.
Says Di Rollo: “The 2006 win came in a match where we all felt good and really attacked well in opening Munster up. But we were also patient and it was a mature performance especially when they came back into the game later on. We also approached that game on the back of three wins (against Leinster, Ulster and Glasgow) although we also had a draw at Connacht in making a similarly good start to the season.”
Recent successes haven’t prevented Edinburgh shaking up tonight’s line-up, most notably omitting their international front row of Allan Jacobsen, Ross Ford and Geoff Cross along with another World Cupper in Nick De Luca and top try scorer Tim Visser. A spokesman confirmed all are fit although Dave Denton, Matt Scott, Alan MacDonald and Ben Cairns have been in the wars recently.
Last week’s match-winner Greig Laidlaw is on the bench although Chris Paterson and Phil Godman return from short and long-term injuries.
Di Rollo, pictured, added: “Sometimes as a professional you take the field feeling good and on other occasions you might be a bit tired but, of course, do your very best regardless. I watched Edinburgh beat Racing Metro and was glad to be able to congratulate (coach) Michael Bradley. But it is important that Edinburgh build on the past two European Cup wins while recognising that Munster have also been winning with the last kick.
“You never go to Munster thinking you can put them away within 60 minutes. That will not happen. Edinburgh have to play sensibly and build a score by taking any chances on offer and, as we found in that previous win, the longer it goes on and Munster are not in the lead that quietens the crowd.
“It wasn’t the redeveloped stadium Munster play in today but there were still 8000 at the game and an early score would also be helpful in putting them on the back foot. The team was in transition and the onus was on some older lads to help the youngsters.”
That will be the case again tonight with the likes of Sep Visser making his competitive debut in the most daunting of arenas.