PREVIEW | Socino: "I'm massively excited for Europe."

Argentinean playmaker Juan Pablo Socino spent a year earlier in his career playing in France and he cannot wait to go back there with Edinburgh this weekend in the Heineken Champions Cup.

The 30-year-old centre played 20 times for US Dax in 2011 and has fond memories of his time in the south-west region of the county.

This Saturday, Socino will hope to keep his place in the Edinburgh starting XV for their opening pool five European match in the GGL Stadium in Montpellier against Vern Cotter’s men.

“Of course, my time in France can help me prepare for playing against French teams,” Socino said.

“I think French clubs tend to play a bit more loose, a bit less structured to what we’re used to. That can sometimes be seen as a weakness and sometimes as an advantage, so I think we need to bear that in mind when we go into the Montpellier game.

“Early in this week we have had a look a bit at what Montpellier do, but it has been more about reviewing what we did at the Cheetahs last Friday and starting to look at what we’re going to do to try and take on the big clubs that we now face in Europe.

“I think that’s the big thing, we have to concentrate on what we’re going to bring to the game on Saturday and how we’re going to perform.

“I’m massively excited going into these European matches having just made my first home start for the team.

“I had my first start against Leinster away which was a tough day, but I was pleased to play close to 80 minutes and get the win against the Cheetahs, so I’m really looking forward to the next challenges ahead.”

Before his spell at US Dax Socino - who could come up against his brother Santiago when Edinburgh play Newcastle Falcons later on in pool five - had played for both Rotherham Titans in the English Championship.

The Argentina international then spent six more years there with Rotherham, Nottingham and Newcastle before joining up with Richard Cockerill’s men in the summer.

He explained: “I spent four seasons at Newcastle, my contract was coming towards the end and I was weighing up my options whether to stay in the Premiership or whether to take on a new challenge.

“That would mean coming to the Guinness PRO14, a new city, new country and it was really exciting so I decided on Edinburgh.

“I knew what the team was about and all the changes that had been made with Cockers coming in last summer, things are on a positive path and that was quite important for me.

“The deal went through my agent, but I had a private conversation with Cockers and I talked to my wife and we both decided it was the best option.

“For me it was where he wanted to be as a club and I just wanted to be part of that, putting the team and the city where he thinks it belongs.

“It’s been great joining Edinburgh. Obviously, I spent four years at Newcastle and it’s a different league and I didn’t really know what to expect, but it is a great group of players. The boys work really hard and I’ve blended in quite well I think, so I’m really pleased to be where I am at the minute.

“I’m hoping that my performances at the club and playing European rugby can help me get back into the Argentina team going forward, but for now everything is focused on this Montpellier game and then the Toulon match at BT Murrayfield next week.”