Press Pass: MacRae ready for derby rematch

Press Pass: MacRae ready for derby rematch

Get the latest from Defence Coach Calum MacRae as he spoke with press ahead of Saturday's rescheduled 1872 Cup derby against Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun.

On team news and selection

"I think it's pretty much as is. I can't imagine the team will be changing too much in that respect."

On building up to the same game twice

“There is always a chance that when you prepare for a game over two weeks instead of one, you get overcooked, and therefore the message gets a bit lost.

“So, we’ve tried to go through our normal processes in the preview, on the focus points we had last week, but grade those in over the course of the week rather than selling the big message again straight away because obviously we don’t want any important part of the details to be lost.

“In terms of the motivation, we obviously got hyped up for the game and then it didn’t go ahead, so it is just about making sure that we build up to the game again and not go too early and run out of juice by the end of the week.

"So, we’ve tried to be pretty measured on that front but I have no doubt that the motivation of the group going into this game – particularly with it being an away from home fixture.

“The artificial surface makes the game a lot quicker and from my perspective as defence coach it is more of a challenge in terms of steppers and stuff in the outside channel.

"Generally, the speed of ball tends to be a lot quicker on the artificial and that’s something we’ll have to combat.

“They’re used to that because it is their home surface, and I see them being far more dangerous because they’ll be hurt from the loss the other week, and they’ll also be gunning for the league points in the same way as we are.

“It's the derby game and one we always look forward to in the calendar. Everyone I think felt a wee bit short-changed at the weekend when you get ready for the game but we have got that opportunity for the game this week.

"We just go through our normal preparation and reiterate a few key points from last week, and apart from that concentrate on the bits we can do well. From there we will be as ready this week as we were last week."

On the opening leg victory and what he expects from the Warriors

"I was happy with our physicality at the tackle line in the first game we had against them. I felt as though at times they challenged us at transition. We know they are a dangerous team at transition so we have to make sure we are controlling that appropriately.

"They have threats right across the field. They have a good forward pack that we know will be combative, so we have to make sure we match that and then some up front.

"And then off the back of that dominance on the tackle side of the ball in the inside channels we will just look to apply as much pressure as we can when they look to get the ball wide.

"If you give them the right type of speed of ball, particularly on transition, turnover or counter-attack, then they are a very, very dangerous team. We saw glimmers of that in the last fixture so we will be respecting them as much as we did in the first game.

"They will be highly motivated having lost the game the other week and that's something we have spoken about, that we have to make sure we set the tone on that front because we know if they get go-forward ball off their carries they are a dangerous team in attack.

"We have to make sure we respect their threats on their inside carries but also the threats they pose off the back of any front-foot ball.

On the arrival on Lang and Young this summer

"It's obviously really pleasing, particularly to get some players with some good experiences and a good age profile coming into the club. They have both got good Premiership experience and a number of games at that level.

"They have also got a huge amount of ability and therefore the roof of their potential is very high. There's an opportunity to bring them in and see how they can add to the overall Edinburgh performance."

On working with Glen Young at Newcastle Falcons

“He was one of the young fledglings in the academy at that point, along with likes of Zach Kibirige, Chris Harris and George McGuigan who went down to Leicester. There was a good crop coming through at that point.

“Glen has a got a great profile for what we are looking for. He’s got nearly 60 first team games in the Premiership or Europe, and it is just a really good fit for us. Having spoken to Dean Richards about him, he calls the line-out really well.

"There are areas of the game where we will look to improve him bit his raw materials are excellent.

"From my side, his mobility as a tight-five forward is excellent, and I think we can work on some of the parts that we put a premium on to make sure he gives himself the best possible chance to push some of the other guys in the squad.

“The other thing that is good for him is that we have two really good frontline second-rows in Grant Gilchrist and Ben Toolis who he is going to learn a huge amount of, so he has enough experience that he knows what he is doing, but at the same time there is the potential for growth, and there is no-one better to learn from than Grant and Ben.

“He’s Jed through and through. His two cousins are the two Young boys who played for me at the Sevens

“I remember him at Newcastle and he was as honest as the day is long. He works his socks off for the team and he’s really keen to learn and I can’t see that being any different here because I think that’s something that stays with you fundamentally throughout your career. You are either very coachable or you’re not.”

On Hamish Watson staying and his effect on recruitment

"He’s performed well for the club and internationally and it’s great to have a guy of Hamish’s quality extending his stay.

"He sees Edinburgh as the place to continue to perform at club level and give himself the launchpad for the international game.

“If you’ve got players of the profile of Hamish who are willing to commit to what we are continuing at Edinburgh it’s only going to help other guys do the same.

"I think it’s a really positive thing for the club. He’s been a great player for the club for a number of years and it’s really pleasing that he feels there’s nowhere else he’d prefer to be.

"It says a lot about the environment and how committed he is to Edinburgh as a club.”

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