EDINBURGH captain Grant Gilchrist believes his side showed at the start of Saturday’s United Rugby Championship clash against the Stormers that they are virtually unplayable when they click in attack. 

He was also pleased with the defensive solidity and tactical acumen the team showed during the second half. 

The challenge now is to combine those two elements of their game, and to cut out the wayward kicking which allowed the Stormers to claw their way back from 0-14 down to 20-20 at the break. With no scoring in the second half, that’s how the game ended. 

“We started the game exactly as we wanted to,” said Gilchrist. “We had been slow to get going in the past few weeks, including Benetton and pre-season, so the real focus for us was to get out the blocks and I thought we did that. You couldn’t have had a better opening 10 minutes. 

“But we then learnt the lesson that if you kick loosely to a team of that quality, they will tear you to shreds. 

“We spoke about it through the week, and we’re disappointed we didn’t execute our kick strategy in the first half when we had such a good lead. We could really have controlled the game.  

“We have to find a balance. We want to run the ball but coming out of our own half we have to make it contestable or get a better line. It is not about beating teams by 50 points to 40, we have to be able to score and play with tempo then have a balance defensively. A big part of defence is how you kick. If you kick loosely, it is hard to defend.  

“It felt like most of the second half was played in that zone where neither team was going anywhere and we were forced into a kick. There were a couple of times I felt when we were down there that we didn’t take advantage. That’s frustrating. We would have liked to have been more relentless and have more tempo. When we had it in the first half, we were so much better, but we struggled to get it in the second half.”

“So, we attacked really well in the first half, and we got our kick strategy right in the second half, but we didn’t really marry them together. We want to try and put them together and then we’ll be a hard team to beat. 

“When we get the opportunity to strike like we did in the first 20 minutes against the Stormers, I don’t think there’s a team in the league that can defend us. 

While it was frustrating to emerge with only a draw from a home match which had started so well, there was also a real sense of relief at the final whistle that Stormers stand-off Tim Swiel hadn’t hit the target with an injury-time drop-goal to win it. 

“We’re not claiming we are there yet, but we are certainly striving to get better every week,” Gilchrist added. “We are making improvements to our game – small things like the fact we got done with a drop goal at the end of the game last week but this week you saw the guys flying through and putting pressure on and the kick was missed.  

“What’s exciting about this group is that we know we can be so much better. We are making steps week on week.” 

Edinburgh now have one win, one draw and one loss to their name after three rounds of matches in this United Rugby Championship campaign, leaving them fifth in the overall table and second – two points behind Glasgow Warriors – in the Italian/Scottish Shield. They are up against South African opposition again next Saturday, when they welcome Vodacom Bulls to the DAM Health Stadium.