Rugby: Edinburgh prop hails team’s collective strength

Geoff Cross
Geoff Cross
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Edinburgh prop Geoff Cross insists there is much more to come from an Edinburgh team looking forward to their first Heineken European Cup semi-final in Dublin’s Aviva Stadium on Saturday, April 28.

In golfing parlance, Cross believes Edinburgh “left shots out on the course” yet still beat four times champions and current French league leaders Toulouse 19-14 at Murrayfield, which can only augur well for the clash with Ulster at the Aviva Stadium. He says: “There was a lot of things we didn’t get right against Toulouse, a lot we CAN get right in training and I’m looking forward to doing that because I believe we are working collectively, which is the greatest strength Edinburgh Rugby has.

“I feel pride at the collective effort of our pack. Everybody was pulling in the same direction.

“What was important was what we did after things didn’t go right. For example, the first scrum after half-time didn’t go right when we were pushed off our ball because I made some mistakes.

“But there wasn’t any recrimination, looking back or worrying. Instead, there was just focus on how we were going to fix it

“The scrum after that was more dominant and putting more pressure on them

“That showed good thinking and collective effort and that is something I have been seeing more of in Edinburgh performances and is really heartening .

“It’s something I want to see more of in training.

“We played some rugby and created some opportunities that we did not take. That is professional rugby. That is the pressure of Heineken European Cup rugby.

“The good thing is we are creating opportunities, but when we didn’t take them we controlled Toulouse’s opportunities well through good communication and organised defence.

“I think there is a maturity in that and it is something I’m proud to see coming through.”

Coach Michael Bradley believed that Toulouse were showing signs of the pace of the game as the teams retired for the interval with Edinburgh having just reduced the deficit to 14-10 with a Greig Laidlaw drop goal.

Cross, who signed a contract extension with Edinburgh earlier this season and who will be hoping his old club, Gala, can pull off a Scottish Cup win over Ayr on Saturday week, insisted he was too wrapped up in his team’s display to notice.

“I heard the boys saying Toulouse were blowing, but it is not my job to empathise with the position of my opponents. My job is to be very task orientated about my roles and execute them correctly, no matter the pressure.”

Added the qualified doctor: “What I was pleased about was the implication of a fresher team coming off at half-time and Edinburgh can take heart from the fact that, as team, however we work we have the fitness to control a game.

“We won’t suffer from lack of fitness whatever happens from now on.”