Edinburgh fans will get entertaining rugby, says Burleigh

Phil Burleigh is enjoying a regular run at centre having covered at stand-off for a couple of years
Phil Burleigh is enjoying a regular run at centre having covered at stand-off for a couple of years
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Edinburgh centre Phil Burleigh has urged the team’s supporters to be patient and have faith that better entertainment is coming.

Alan Solomons’ men got their Guinness PRO12 account for the season up and running with a welcome two-try 20-9 victory over Scarlets at BT Murrayfield last Friday but it was yet another grinding display by the men in black and red.

Solomons, the coaching staff and players have been talking about an “evolving attack” that is building towards a more open and attacking style. Last season, they managed only two PRO12 try bonuses all season and it is clear that more five-pointers will be required this term if they are to achieve their aim of a top-half, even top-four finish.

Glasgow’s thriller with Leinster at Scotstoun was literally night and day away from the game in the Capital less than 24 hours previous but, in fairness, it was played in vastly different conditions.

Friday night’s weather at Murrayfield was dismal with swirling wind and incessant rain and Burleigh admitted the Edinburgh players were annoyed that they are not getting the chance they would like to open up a bit more.

“It can be frustrating sometimes,” said the 29-year-old New Zealand-born inside centre. “You have to play to the conditions. Unfortunately for the spectators, that’s the way we’ve had to play our games over the last two weeks, so I really hope we do get some dry weather.

“We do have a style game we would like to play in those conditions and I think you will see it if it is dry. Glasgow have had a couple of dry games and we haven’t. They do play a different style to what you’ve seen [from Edinburgh] in the past couple of weeks but, if we get a dry night, you will see a different team.

“Looking at the conditions last weekend, we had to play that way. It was one of those games where you couldn’t throw the ball around. Those balls are like a bar of soap when it rains.

“I think we did very well in those conditions. We played them better than the opposition did.”

Burleigh added: “The weather dictates our gameplan. We have some very astute footballers and they dictate how we play in those conditions. Last weekend might not have been what people want to see but that’s the way it had to happen to win the game..”

Following their defeat at the hands of a Tommy Seymour-inspired Glasgow at the weekend, Leinster are the next visitors to Edinburgh and will be searching for a first win in Scotland since they won at Murrayfield on the last day of the 2014-15 season.

Burleigh accepts Edinburgh will need to raise their game for the Irishmen and said the squad had been poring over the tape from Scotstoun.

“The coaching staff had a busy weekend and the players get it all [the video],” he said.

“Leinster are a good team, there’s no doubt about it, so we’re going to have to be on top of our game to beat those guys.”

Burleigh, who received a first ever yellow card in Edinburgh colours last week – “I had thrown a poor pass in the middle and out of frustration I went straight through the ruck. It was a bit silly of me. Never again” – is enjoying focusing purely on the inside centre berth after a couple of years covering stand-off.

With last Friday’s man of the match Duncan Weir and the currently-injured Jason Tovey now in the squad, Burleigh knows that, barring a run of injuries, he now has a settled position.

“I’m enjoying being back at 12,” he said. “That’s the position where I’ve played most of my rugby so I’m back at home there and feel good.

“It’s easy playing outside Duncan Weir and the likes. They are making it easy by putting the ball in the right places.

“I don’t have to do a lot of kicking any more, so that’s nice.

“My focus now is on playing 12. Obviously, Jason is injured at the moment and if there are injuries I may have to step up into the role. Blair Kinghorn is here as well and he’s a very good young player and he’ll get his chance.

“Having that depth there in that position is huge; we’ve probably not been like that in the last couple of years so it’s nice to have a few good tens.”