Argentina lock Esteban Lozada has suffered through a nightmare first month with Edinburgh but intends to make a telling impact to get the capital side on the winning mark with his second “debut” against Leinster on Friday.
The Puma is one of two changes to the Edinburgh starting line-up and actually made his debut two weeks ago against Munster, but lasted only 25 minutes when a stray knee knocked him unconscious and caused him to be stretchered off and taken to hospital.
That followed a back injury which meant he missed all three games of Edinburgh’s pre-season. So, understandably, the new recruit is keen to get out on the pitch this week to help Edinburgh end the run of seven successive defeats dating back to last season.
“With less than half an hour on the pitch it doesn’t feel like I’ve actually played yet, and with the back injury it’s fair to say it hasn’t been the greatest five weeks of my career,” said Lozada.
“It has been frustrating because I had a great pre-season, eating healthily and prepared, and then the week before the first pre-season match I could not move my back, and then after missing the warm-up games I get back and get knocked out.
“Thankfully, I recovered really quickly and I left the hospital four or five hours later because I had no symptoms, not even a headache. The scanner and X-ray were pretty good, as was the reflex test, so it was just rest for a while and I got back to training pretty quickly.”
The frustration is added because he is desperate to contribute to the club’s cause after being brought to Murrayfield in the summer.
“We have made some naive mistakes, some silly penalties, which have not helped but I am here to give everything I have,” he said.
Lozada comes into the second row, with Ross Rennie returning to blind side and skipper Roddy Grant moving to No 8, where he played several times last year, with Fijian Netani Talei suffering from a dead leg.
Coach Rob Moffat conceded that pressure was building with his side having only a single losing bonus point to their name from the first three games.
“I am the first person to take responsibility and if we lose a game I think about what can I do better, but I’ve also been working to get that same message right through the squad where we are all thinking about personal responsibility,” he said.
“We have played three games and I have been around a while and have a fair amount of experience, and I know that the important thing at a time like this is to retain a balanced view.
“I’ve got enough people in the game I look to as well who are very honest with me. They’ve not been nice about analysing our games and let me know what they think about where problems lie, but there has been nothing I didn’t know.”