Edinburgh have lost three times in succession under Richard Cockerill only once – at this time last year – but there is no panic in the ranks ahead of the meeting with Connacht at BT Murrayfield tonight.
The head coach believes his team are not far away from a win and the spectre of another loss to follow the opening ones in Swansea and Belfast is not hanging over the squad.
“I thought we played very well last week,” he said. “We’ve just got to replicate that again this week. “For some bizarre reason in the PRO14 some teams have two home games and some have two away games at the start, so it was always a tough start. If we make sure we get the same performance as we got last week, I’m pretty sure that we’ll get the right result.”
The difference to last year was that Edinburgh still weren’t accustomed to going to place like Ulster and being 17 points up with half an hour to go, he added.
“For this team to develop we have to go through certain scenarios,” he said. “I’d much prefer us to not lose at the weekend and play well enough to make sure that we win it, but we’ve got to learn to be in charge of games and then to make sure we win those games.
“There’s part of it we need to learn and be better at, but that’s part of development. You can’t suddenly expect a team to go from one thing to another in a very short period of time. It’s not going to happen overnight and we just need to keep sure that we keep working hard at our game.
“But we need to start winning pretty soon, don’t we? And that needs to be in this game.”
Cockerill recalls two key men in finisher Duhan van der Merwe and Scotland lynchpin Hamish Watson to the team for their first home game. James Johnstone is in for Mark Bennett, who is confirmed out for a few months having been scheduled for surgery on a ruptured hamstring.
“I know that there’s enough rugby in that Connacht team to cause teams problems. Glasgow in the end got on top of them physically at times, but the Connacht team caused them all sorts of problems and were unlucky not to win the game in many ways.
“They’re a very dangerous side that could have had two wins from two, but they’ve clearly had two home games at the start of the season, so we’re not comparing apples with apples.”
Cockerill knows that even a good crowd for Edinburgh gets lost in Murrayfield, but knows whatr’s lost in atmosphere is gained in other ways.
“It’s a great pitch, a good surface, and a full size pitch suits how we want to try to play. We had some big wins here last year, so we’ve just got to make the best of it until we get into a stadium that’s a bit more appropriate for our fan base, then obviously we’ll be able to create more atmosphere.”
Edinburgh (vs Connacht, Guinness PRO14 at BT Murrayfield, ko 7.35 pm) Blair Kinghorn; Dougie Fife, James Johnstone, Matt Scott, Duhan van der Merwe; Simon Hickey, Henry Pyrgos; Pierre Schoemann, Stuart McInally (capt), WP Nel; Ben Toolis, Grant Gilchrist; Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Luke Hamilton.
Replacements: Ross Ford, Allan Dell, Simon Berghan, Fraser McKenzie, Magnus Bradbury, Sean Kennedy, Jaco van der Walt, Juan Pablo Socino.