Rugby: Alan Solomons under fire for Edinburgh team

Edinburgh coach Alan Solomons takes a good look during training for the Heineken Cup match against Gloucester.  Pic Ian Rutherford
Edinburgh coach Alan Solomons takes a good look during training for the Heineken Cup match against Gloucester. Pic Ian Rutherford
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Edinburgh Rugby coach Alan Solomons has defended a decision to rest key personnel amidst six changes to the starting line-up for tomorrow’s crucial Heineken European Cup visit to Gloucester.

The Capital outfit need a win not just to keep outside hopes of qualifying for the knock-out stages alive but also to boost prospects of the consolation prize of a place in the later rounds of the second-tier Amlin Challenge Trophy.

However, Edinburgh will be without Test stars Greig Laidlaw, Ally Dickinson, Ross Rennie, Dave Denton and Nick De Luca whose likely absence was highlighted by the Evening News earlier this week.

“They certainly haven’t been dropped,” declared Solomons before expressing concerns over shoulder problems suffered by De Luca, he said: “Every match we play is important as part and parcel of our development.

“We have a situation where we will miss these players but players are fatigued.

“We’ve got Nick whose shoulders are a problem, a physical concern and Greg and Dents are carrying niggles.

“It is in the best interests of the players, player welfare and best interests of the team.

“(In) pro rugby I don’t think people appreciate they are well-conditioned athletes and collisions are mighty.

“On other side of the coin, it represents opportunities to other players.”

Edinburgh could do with a boost; this season the 22 tries they have scored in 12 matches so far is three more than last year.

However, the much maligned ‘12-13 campaign had by this stage leaked only 24 tries whereas Edinburgh have currently had their line crossed on 35 occasions. Answering a suggestion that Edinburgh might be accused by some supporters of not taking the Heineken Cup sufficiently seriously a defiant Solomons said: “It’s nothing to do with not taking the Heineken Cup seriously. We take every game seriously.

“It is a case of looking at the players. In Super Rugby (southern hemisphere regional competition) nobody goes more than five or six games. They rotate.

“Players (internationalists) have played three back-to-back Test matches, two of them against Number two and three in the world on a heavy pitch.

“Then we had Connacht in a very important match for us followed by a game against Gloucester.

“I mean it with respect; that argument doesn’t hold water,” Solomons went on.

Drafted in to start for Edinburgh are fit-again Ross Ford as well as Grayson Hart, Wiccus Blaauw, Joaquin Dominguez, Tomas Leonardi and Roddy Grant.