THE last time Edinburgh Rugby met Gloucester in the Heineken European Cup, sevens seasons ago, Alasdair Dickinson was an up-and-coming prop forward as yet uncapped by Scotland.
When the teams meet again at Murrayfield on Sunday the 30-year-old could find himself cast as the most senior player in the team depending on whether Aleki Lutui and Ben Atiga retain their places.
In between came four years at Gloucester which provided insight into just how hungry for success those opponents will be coming off a run that has seen them go without an Aviva Premiership win since September.
“I know the senior guys are pretty passionate about Gloucester and will be angry; they’ll be coming here to have a crack,” said Dickinson.
“It must be almost unheard of for Gloucester to lose five in a row in the Premiership. They are going to be a tough, well drilled, side.”
But Dickinson stressed: “I’m a fully-committed Edinburgh player now and we are all better for our biggest win of the season against Connacht last weekend. There’s a fine line between confidence and complacency, though, and we recognise that Sunday will be an even bigger challenge.
“Rugby is funny sometimes in that you feel great and things don’t work out maybe because concentration was lost in parts and opponents took opportunities. But the Connacht result was coming. We kept our heads and our composure and managed to get the bonus point with late tries which was huge.
“It’s such a good feeling to come off a win like that, especially the way we did it, breaking them down when we could have settled for grinding.”
What has perhaps been overlooked is the fact that ten points was the lowest number conceded by Edinburgh this season in which they have won five from ten. We gave them a soft try but kept them out pretty well in a match that also showed the value of good subs,” he said.
“We are getting better every week but we are now going on to the biggest stage and have got to stand up and be counted because the Heineken Cup is a ruthless tournament.”
It could also be a depleted tournament if English clubs are left out due to a long-running dispute over television rights and tournament ownership.
“I don’t know the ins and outs of how it is going to be resolved but these English clubs you want in – and Scottish clubs have to be in as well, of course,” said Dickinson.