SEAN COX and his Edinburgh Rugby team will be striving to reward long-suffering fans when Munster are encountered in the Heineken European Cup at Murrayfield tomorrow (kick-off 12.45pm).
The Capital outfit, who sit bottom of Pool One having failed to claim a single point so far, are desperate to secure at least one win from this season’s competition.
Cox insists that aim is the emphasis for tomorrow rather than acting as king-makers who can have a big say in whether Munster or Saracens advance notwithstanding the claims of Racing Metro, who are also in contention.
Cox said: “The first thing we said on Monday morning this week was we are not too fussy whether Munster or Sarries go through.
“We want to get ourselves a win in the tournament, get points on the board. It is our last home game in this year’s tournament. We want it for fans who have been turning out.
“Every team goes through a bad patch. This one is a little worse than some and has gone on a little bit longer. Tough times happen, but tough teams get through the other side and we have got to believe everything we learn during this bad period will make us stronger.”
Cox, who will turn 28 next Wednesday, arrived from Sale Sharks last season and has previous experience of rugby up and downs.
“At Sale in 2006, we won the [English] Premiership and 2007, the year I broke into the side, we almost got relegated. That is quite a swing.
“Teams go through that. Glasgow had a couple of seasons where they were finishing in the bottom two, but now they are one of the strongest teams in the table.
“You can learn things and get better during these periods. The young guys who came in last year will be learning more about their game and, crucially, themselves.
“Munster like to keep it tight and try to bully up front. Nowadays they have some really dangerous backs with Ian Keatley a big strong runner at stand-off; [Simon] Zebo and [Dougie]Howlett give real pace to their back three.
“Munster have more of an all-round game now. They struggled with that at the start of the season, but they have got the balance right now.
“It is going to be tough, but over there we were [only] 6-0 down at half-time before falling away. On home ground we have to remember that Heineken Cup games are traditionally close and won by very small margins.” Edinburgh entered 2013 with a home league game against Leinster last Friday and, while the losing trend may have been agonisingly familiar, the attendance went against the grain and actually amounted to a record.
Some 3821 fans turned out despite Edinburgh’s dismal record that has seen only Italian side Zebre and champions Ospreys defeated on home soil this season.
And, while there is plenty of scope for improving that figure, it was the highest ever for Edinburgh at home on the opening weekend of a new year (derby games with Glasgow excepted).
Attendances for a “first foot” occasion have been as low as 1568 when Cardiff visited in 2010 and 12 months later only 1673 turned up to see Scarlets.
Cox said: “One positive has been the support, especially last Friday. The first game of the year is usually difficult to get people out.
“Traditionally it is one of the lowest attendances of the year with people feeling the pinch after Christmas and the season has not exactly been going the way we would have liked.
“The problem with the season so far has been our consistency. We’d dearly love to get it right this time and reward those supporters who have stuck with us.”