Edinburgh’s Phil Burleigh promises a backlash

Phil Burleigh's try last week was not enough
Phil Burleigh's try last week was not enough
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Phil Burleigh has promised a backlash from Edinburgh as they try to win back-to-back away games in the Guinness Pro 12 for the first time in more than five years when visiting Cardiff tomorrow.

Edinburgh are still reeling from failing to finish off a 13-man Ulster side at home but Kiwi centre Burleigh, who doubled his try count since arriving from Super 15 side Highlanders by scoring last week, says it can act as a wake-up call and provoke a reaction.

Tim Visser and the backs were pretty grumpy last week about not seeing the ball

Phil Burleigh

“It is a must-win game at Cardiff,” said Burleigh of a match where incentive exists to update record books which show Edinburgh haven’t won successive road fixtures in the league since starting the 2009-10 season brightly with success at Cardiff followed by Ulster.

Edinburgh have slipped to eighth in the table but continue to target a top-six finish which would give access to the premier European Champions Cup once again.

They can take heart from the fact that when they last left BT Murrayfield in the league prior to breaks both for the Euro Challenge Cup and the start of the Six Nations Championship they won at Connacht, currently sitting above them in the table.

“It is an advantage playing at home because your preparation is different and we have a young team. But we should be winning games away. No excuses, really.

“We have a very good record at home (W8, L2, D1) this season but away we haven’t been so good. A lot of teams are like that,” admitted Burleigh, adding:

“We are pretty disappointed with the result last week because we lost it ourselves and need to get back up with good performances not just tomorrow but at Treviso in a week’s time.

“Tim Visser and the backs were pretty grumpy about not seeing the ball. We will be looking to move the ball a bit more. We were building a lot of pressure in the forwards and little things like line-out throwing cost us.

“We backed ourselves to get over the line and they had two in the bin at the end. Our tactics were right but our accuracy wasn’t towards the end of the game,” added Burleigh.

Coach Alan Solomons was particularly critical of kicking both from hand and off the tee.

It was easy to see why with game-plans often based on playing for territory then squeezing opponents into error as acknowledged by Burleigh.

“We have tried to stick to our structure. Solly (Alan Solomons) has come up with good game plans that do revolve a lot around kicking but puts teams under pressure in their half.

“Our general kicking let us down and Tommy (Heathcote) is pretty gutted about his goal-kicking.

“Until last week we were on a really good roll and confidence was right up. I don’t think it has set us back a helluva lot. We did lose to one of the top sides by (only) three points while playing bad rugby.”

Meanwhile, hooker Neil Cochrane has recovered from a sprung rib cartilage and plays in a pack that has Ollie Atkins and Dave Denton replacing Ben Toolis and Hamish Watson while Jade Te Rure for Tom Heathcote is the only change in the backs from the team beaten 20-17 by Ulster.

• Edinburgh have released Brett Thompson, the US Eagles winger who has been unable to play due to persistent shoulder damage.