EDINBURGH coach Richard Cockerill gave several of his rookies a chance to make their mark on Friday night against Zebre, and they certainly took it in the 24-18 win.

Centre Matt Currie, in particular, was impressive, not only scoring his team’s third try in the Rainbow Cup match at Murrayfield, but also showing up well in defence as Zebre attempted a fightback.

The 20-year-old may not quite be ready to go on a sustained run in the team, but he possibly did enough to force his way into consideration for the forthcoming double-header against Glasgow. Cockerill has insisted he will pick his strongest available team for the derbies, the first of which will decide the destination of the 1872 Cup, and on current form Currie could force his way into the matchday 23.

“It was amazing to get out on the park and get 80 minutes after not much rugby this season,” Currie said after a game in which his team’s other tries came from Eroni Sau and captain Luke Crosbie, with stand-off Nathan Chamberlainadding three conversions and a penalty. “I got my opportunity and I hope I took it. I’ll review my game with all the boys later on: they’ll give me pointers and hopefully I can keep improving.

“I was happy enough with my performance, but there’s still plenty to work on. Hopefully I’ll get another few opportunities soon.”

Ben Muncaster, the 19-year-old No 8, had a promising debut, while 18-year-old hooker Patrick Harrison also showed up well after coming on for Mike Willemse in a second half which saw Edinburgh get on top after going in at the break 13-7 behind. But while those players gave Cockerill reasons to feel positive, there are persistent rumours of increasing disquiet within the squad.

Some dissatisfaction is to be expected towards the end of what has been a uniquely frustrating season, and as the coach said after the game, it is normal at any time for players to feel unhappy when they are left out of the team. If there is indeed nothing more behind the current unrest, any difficulties will soon be forgotten. But if there are more deep-seated difficulties, Cockerill may face the sort of problem that is a lot thornier than who to pick at centre to face the Warriors.

“There is a great spirit in the team and this win is great for the whole squad,” the coach insisted after the game. “We had a good spirit in the camp with the Test boys coming back, and they’ve helped all week preparing these guys to play and as a club we’re in good fettle.

“Does it look like it’s a team that’s not happy? It’s 15 blokes that are happy tonight and there will be another 35 that are not happy because they didn’t play, I suppose. You can’t keep everybody happy all of the time. We’re a good squad, we’re working together, and it’s enough of that question, really.”