Winger Lee Jones reckons Edinburgh have picked up the perfect head of steam going into what promises to be their toughest assignment of the domestic season so far – a visit to champions Munster on Saturday.
Jones reckons the trip to Limerick could not have come at a better time with Edinburgh just achieving their first double-winning start to Europe since 2003-04 when they went on to reach the quarter-finals.
At the same time ‘A’ internationalist Jones admits his side had to gamble in order to win their epic encounter with Racing Metro at Murrayfield on Friday which followed up a morale-boosting victory over London Irish in Reading.
Edinburgh recovered from 24 points down to beat Racing 48-47, their third straight victory in all matches.
“To get two wins from two in the Heineken European Cup is what we wanted and hopefully we take a bit of confidence from that returning to league matters,” said Jones, who noted how a high-risk strategy was the only way of getting back into contention.
“When we went in at half-time behind 20-31 we knew we were going to be chasing. Then we gave Racing another 16 points and we knew we were really chasing! For half an hour in the second half we had to force the game but it came off. We were forcing offloads and a few of them stuck which allowed us to score tries.”
Jones maintained that Edinburgh’s surge really started when Treviso were overcome in the concluding match of the Rabo Direct 12 before Europe intervened. “Treviso hadn’t been beaten in four matches and victory on their home ground provided a boost enhanced at London Irish a week later.
“Going away to Munster is was always going to be tough but the guys are flying high.”
Superior fitness also appears to have been a factor. “Every player was out on his feet after 20 minutes because the game started at such a pace. When you are tired you just have to look at the opposition and they were maybe that little bit more tired than us.
“They had a good spell midway through the second half and were looking really sharp but when we started to force passes for them to come off Racing kind of held back a wee bit. We were breaking the (defensive) line towards the end and they were really struggling.”
Jones maintained that one of the hardest aspects was sealing the victory after Greig Laidlaw had struck the touchline conversion of Tim Visser’s second try three minutes from the end. Edinburgh gathered the restart kick but as Jones acknowledged “it was a minute too long to keep the ball, especially with the referee looking closely at all the breakdown situations.”
Edinburgh coughed up the ball but composure prevailed in the face of one last Racing attack. “The Racing player (Juan Martin Hernandez) lined up a drop goal but his positioning was quite flat and our guys got to him. It was quite tense!”