Alan Solomons: 1872 Cup success shows Edinburgh are making progress
Edinburgh head coach maintains that the gap to Glasgow Warriors is closing after stunning 20-8 win over their rivals
Alan Solomons insists that Edinburgh’s 20-8 Guinness PRO12 win over Glasgow Warriors is proof of their progress.
A first win over their rivals since January 2011 at BT Murayfield on Friday night saw them claim the 1872 Cup for the first time since 2009 as they overturned a 10-point deficit from their meeting on 27 December at Scotstoun Stadium.
Glasgow have set the pace and what I think we’ve seen over the last 15 months is that we are starting to close the gap.
The South African coach has faced criticism since taking charge 18 months ago, not least for signing a number of relatively unknown compatriots to bulk up the playing and backroom staff.
Edinburgh’s lack of consistency from one game to the next has also been a sore point for the club’s supporters, which showed little sign of abating this season as they followed up an impressive 14-13 win over at Munster in Round 1 with an embarrassing 62-13 defeat at the Ospreys in Round 3.
Despite the perceived lack of progress amid the attractive rugby and success enjoyed by Glasgow Warriors, Solomons has maintained a confidence that Edinburgh are on the up, and he repeated that belief after seeing his side produce an impressive performance to stun the Warriors at Murrayfield.
“To get the win was really important, and to get the four points from a home game was important, but I think the significance of this game is something that shouldn’t be lost,” Solomons said.
“Glasgow have set the pace and what I think we’ve seen over the last 15 months is that we are starting to close the gap.
“I think if you consider where we came from we’ve made steady progress throughout.
“Last season for the first time in 10 years, apart from the semi-final [in 2008], we won three out of six in Europe. We finished eighth [in the PRO12], which was the best in the last four years.
“We’ve had a litany of injuries this season, yet we’re still sitting seventh on the log and unbeaten in Europe, so I think it’s been a question of steady progress and I think we’ve seen better strength in depth.
“We’ve seen our Scottish youngsters coming through. Hamish [Watson] came back tonight, Rory Sutherland has played quite a bit of rugby, Ben Toolis has established himself in the starting XV and Sam [Hidalgo-Clyne] kicked really well under pressure.
“I think the progress is important and [this] result is significant in that progress.”
Next up for Edinburgh is a trip to Galway to face Connacht, who have turned out to be the PRO12 surprise package this season under the leadership of Pat Lam.
We’ve always said our aim is to try to make the top six. We’ve got a massive game next weekend.
The Irish province are undefeated at the Sportsground this season, taking the scalps of interpro rivals Leinster and Munster, as well as the Scarlets.
Lam’s young charges edged out the Gunners to win 14-13 at BT Murrayfield in Round 2 four months ago, with their impressive home form helping them to fifth place in the PRO12 after 12 rounds.
Solomons admits it is a huge game in the context of securing the sixth-place finish that would guarantee a return to the European Champions Cup next season.
“We’ve got a tough job ahead of us,” he added.
“We’ve always said our aim is to try to make the top six. We’ve got a massive game next weekend.
“Connacht are playing really, really well and are unbeaten at the Sportsground, and beat Munster on the weekend, so it’s a massive, massive game for us.”