Tim Visser looking to try something different

Tim Visser wants to get Edinburgh's Heineken Cup campaign off to a flyer against Munster. Picture: Craig Watson (SNS Group)
Tim Visser wants to get Edinburgh's Heineken Cup campaign off to a flyer against Munster. Picture: Craig Watson (SNS Group)
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For a player who has scored 56 tries from 96 Edinburgh Rugby appearances, it is hard to imagine Tim Visser ever spending much time “in the shadows”.

But the cloak-and-dagger approach is one the Scotland winger admits he now has to cultivate as another Heineken European Cup prepares to get under way with Edinburgh entertaining two times winners Munster at Murrayfield tomorrow.

“Vis the Whizz” is first to acknowledge that the more his try haul increases – he has been top scorer in the Rabo Direct PRO12 in each of the past four seasons – the more he has to find alternative ways of shaking off increased attentions from defenders.

But Dutch-born Visser goes in prepared and knowing that for Edinburgh to succeed will probably mean business as usual from him – but only after a team effort has “distressed” the opposition.

Speaking candidly about the approach he will bring to tomorrow’s match, Visser, who claimed a “hat-trick” of tries against Munster in the opening league game of 2011-12, referred to his latest touchdown at Ospreys as an example of what has to be done.

Then, Visser ghosted on to the shoulder of Sean Kennedy to blast through a gap.

He says: “The try against Ospreys looked simple because it was done correctly, but when it goes wrong it can be catastrophic with one of us getting hit hard.

“When defences become distressed and there are gaps, that’s when I now try to come in.

“That’s what large parts of my game are based on, trying to find opportunities and then exploiting them.

“The days of me waiting on the wing for try-scoring opportunities are long gone.

“I get double-tackled constantly and even when I am just behind the first line (of attack) awaiting my chance I can hear myself getting name-dropped.

“Rivals start looking for me to see where I am, so I like to come out of the shadows.

“First, though, we have to manipulate the opposition defence, as happened at Ospreys when momentum was established.

“If we fire as a team and the defence becomes distressed there is no substitute for that in attack. You can’t defend it. If there are gaps appearing and I see them, it doesn’t matter who is there. If there is enough space for me, then nine times out of ten I can finish it.

“Momentum is key and the less there is, the harder it gets to score.

“Without go-forward it can seem like I am out of the game for long periods, even though I am just behind the first line of attack trying to find that opportunity.

“I definitely have to come off the wing and look harder for openings these days, but when it is done correctly it is great.

“It’s been tough at times but if we do good job as a team and play a good brand of rugby with more physicality, which is what we are trying to do, there is going to be space somewhere.”

Visser aims to go into action with a solid week’s preparation behind him having picked up thigh and head knocks which restricted the part he played in previous build-ups to games, even though he had a try in the home win against Dragons as well as Ospreys.

Those came after a belated start when a heel problem caused him to miss the opening visit to Munster.

Nevertheless, he has been studying the video of that encounter, not least because the Irishmen have been evolving their style compared to the forward-orientated approach which gained so much renown a few years ago.

“It’s fantastic we have already played Munster this season as we kind of know what to expect.

“They have re-branded over the last couple of seasons and are playing a different style of rugby than they have traditionally.

“They have very dangerous backs who can counter from anywhere, but we know what to expect even if it seems they are firing at the moment.

“They beat Leinster last weekend, which was a massive win for them.

“It’ll be a big test, much better to be at home, but a big one nonetheless.

“We have done our planning to counter the new Munster approach and Omar (Mouneimne), our defence coach, wants us to hit a little bit higher so as to wrap up the ball and prevent them playing out of the tackle.

“We have been practising and at Cardiff last weekend they couldn’t get the ball away at times.

“We will be focusing on that, although it will be important to put them on the ground as soon as possible.”

It is attacking that Visser is most celebrated for and he starts the latest campaign knowing his six Euro tries from 21 appearances to add to 50 from 75 outings at league level have put him in sight of the overall Edinburgh record in the “Heineken”.

“Ben Cairns is still up there with nine and he hasn’t been able to play for a couple of 
seasons due to injury.

“Hopefully I can get to nearer the mark he has set,” added Visser, who led with four touchdowns during Edinburgh’s march to the 2012 semi-final.

What followed was a blank return last season when it took Edinburgh four matches to cross the opposition line.

That suggests there is a bit of lost time to make up and Visser, with his dedication to finding new ways to stay ahead of the defence, appears just the man to lead the way.