Tim Visser admitted he had endured sleepless nights worrying about not scoring a try on what turned out to be his last game for Edinburgh.
After six seasons in the Capital, the Netherlands-born Scotland winger is heading to Harlequins next season and he was desperate to give the Edinburgh faithful one more try to remember him by.
The second highest try scorer in Pro12 history with 58 duly delivered as slithered free from a tackle and managed to get over in the second half. But he couldn’t prevent a 36-23 defeat by last year’s champions Leinster that brought Edinburgh’s season to a close. Connacht held on to seventh place and will face Gloucester in the first Champions Cup play-off this weekend. For Edinburgh it is a second successive eighth-place finish in the competition.
Visser was in lively form and admitted he was desperate to get over the line.
“I was gagging for it to be honest. Being known for scoring tries I’ve been having nightmares about desperately trying to leave on one. So I’m happy at getting one. It was a bit of a sneaky one. I think he let go of me and I had a bash. I said to [referee] Nigel Owens ‘he wasn’t holding on to me’ and he seemed to agree which is always good.”
Hamish Watson also scored for Alan Solomons’ men, with scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne adding 13 points with the boot, but Leinster always seemed to be in control and they ran in five scores to cement fifth place.
Now fans favourite Visser heads for London and he said: “It’s been a pleasure to play with these players and it’s been a phenomenal rollercoaster ride these past six years. Looking back to coaches like Rob Moffat, who showed so much confidence in me at the start, and all the way through to Michael Bradley and Alan [Solomons], I’ve learned things from all of them and I’d like to thank them.
“Yes there is mixed emotions of course. It would have been nice to leave here with a win and I thought we deserved it. It’s sad to be leaving so many friends, the group of players is fantastic. But I’m also excited about having a crack at the Aviva.”
Visser hasn’t enjoyed the kind of prolific season he is used to with only six tries in the league this season. “That is down to a mix of things,” he said. “I came back from a traumatic injury and we’ve not played the kind of rugby wew did on Saturday for long periods in the season, which is not ideal for someone in my position. There has been turnover in the team and it takes time to gel.”
Visser admitted it was disappointing to go out on a losing note but added: “A little lapse in concentration cost us. Leinster were clinical in short periods of the game and every time they were they scored a try. It shows the kind of team they are. They’ve been lacking it in parts of their season this year but they’re still a very dangerous team.”
Edinburgh will now look to improve next season and Solomons, who signed a 12-month extenstion last week, said: “At 65 minutes I thought we were going to win it. The key was we got a scrum turned over, they scored, and that really shot it for us. We will now do all the programming, the medical profiling stuff. They need a good break. Everybody is really tired.
“I am happy with that we have achieved. Last year was very difficult. We have made very good progress and what we did in the European Challenge Cup was fantastic.
“In the end, it was a bridge too far for us. Remember we had a high injury count and with Europe we had to keep playing back-to-back games.
“To win ten games in the Pro12 is a pretty stout effort. We can set our sights higher for next season.”