Press Pass with Gareth Baber
Get the latest from Skills and Assistant Attack Coach Gareth Baber as he spoke with press in the build up to Saturday's United Rugby Championship Round 10 clash with Cardiff Rugby at DAM Health Stadium.
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On joining Edinburgh and settling into a new coaching team
“I came to Edinburgh because I wanted to be challenged differently in my coaching. I’d done something there in Fiji for five years and I also recognised there were certain strengths that I had in my coaching but there were certain things I wanted to develop and the conversations with Mike were around what I could add value to here.
“I don’t mean being different for the sake of being different, I mean thinking differently. I’ve got to be able to think differently.
“Going from Head Coach to Assistant Coach, that’s an important development for me. I also believe that a big part of leadership is understanding where you fit. I like being involved in teams, that’s why I’ve been involved with them from a young age.
"What I cling on to is that I know there are aspects of what we’re doing here that I can add value to. I know it’s not going to happen overnight and I’m looking forward to the challenge of working with Mike and the other coaches and the playing staff and the staff generally on building something as special as we possibly can.”
On the season so far and what Edinburgh can achieve in 2022
“That comes down a little bit to the history around the team and being able to capitalise on what we’ve just talked about there.
“What I have been impressed with is the quality and the culture of the group and how willing they are to take on information and push themselves and not be comfortable with being at a level where people start to talk us up in terms of being one, two or three in a league.
"It can bite you very, very quickly, this sport we’re involved in and there are certainly tough games to come.
“To move on, there are going to be things off field and on field that we will have to give great focus to to ensure that we are learning from the episodes of time past but also about seeing where we’re going to go in the future.
“Mike and the coaching staff have done a great job to date. The players are certainly encouraged by the way we’re wanting to play the game and the way we operate off field as well.
"I think that’s important for the leadership group and certainly those boys who are playing international rugby, the recognition of what it means to go in daily, weekly to ensure that keep everybody to the standard.”
On returning to competitive action against Cardiff Rugby
“We’re not the only ones that are desperate to play - generally most teams are suffering this at the moment - but certainly having come close a couple of times to getting games on, a big part of our training has been focused on getting to game time.
"So we’re looking forward to having that opportunity this weekend against Cardiff.”
On sitting second in the URC and the mood in camp
“Yeah. I’ve only been part of one of those games in the URC - the other one was in the European competition. I think a lot of good work has been done prior to my getting here.
"The team are pretty settled in the way they want to play the game and they’ve shown great humility in the way they want to improve all the time.
“When you create a culture like that it starts to reflect generally in the way that you play. You don’t always get it right, but what you’re looking for is an objective response in being able to improve as a group of players and as a staff.
"We challenge each other all the time to move that on, and that has probably been reflected on the field.
“We’ve just missed two games against our local rivals, and we know that some games are coming up in the near future where we’ll need to be as effective as possible to make sure that we stay in that position.
"But yeah, you’re encouraged by the fact that you’re doing stuff right to get in the top three in the table. We want to keep at that level and we want to keep pushing our ability to do that game after game.”
On his first impressions of Blair Kinghorn and working with the stand-off
“You can’t help but be struck by the intelligence of him as a player. Off the field as well, what he looks at. He’s quite a relaxed character but that fits for the type of personality and character he has and his development.
“When he slots in at 10 he’s got the threat with the size and pace that he has. He likes to read the opposition, he’s a good and developing leader in that position as well.
“He coming from the back three into 10 and I’m quite excited about his ability to pull defences around but generally his high skill level and his intelligence around the game - he likes the high tempo stuff that we are playing.
“It’s my first time working with him and it’s been less than a month and only really one game [v Benetton] when he got that concussion.
"He’s well thought of here and I know he’s well thought of in Scotland. He’s a great prospect to have and I think we’re very lucky to have him in those positions and I’m looking forward to working with him and seeing how far he can develop his game.”