Willemse calls for focus ahead of Scarlets trip
Despite the defeat, Mike Willemse put in an impressive performance in Sunday’s clash with Connacht, scoring twice from lineout drives, while providing plenty of go forward with a number of typically abrasive carries.
Willemse will have a big role to play in the coming weeks – stepping into the No. 2 jersey in co-captain Stuart McInally’s absence – and the South African insists he and his teammates need to simply focus moving forward with a ‘next game’ mentality to secure that first win of the new season.
“We did a lot of good things out there against Connacht but we were obviously a little bit too easy to score against,” said Willemse.
“They were really good around the fringes and put us under pressure in our 22, and it cost us.
“We are trying to build as games go, so we’ll have to take the positives out of this one and try to build from that.”
“My tries on Sunday were pretty straight forward but it’s testament to how hard our forward pack works during the week. I just put the ball down, it was the guys in front of me who did the leg work.
“If we can just match our attacking prowess with some better defence then I’m sure we’ll start to come out on top. That is something we are going to have to look at going forward.
Richard Cockerill’s side now to prepare to travel to face Scarlets at Parc y Scarlets this Sunday – a ground where Edinburgh have triumphed on their last two visits.
It will be a battle between two sides who often provide the most players to their respective national teams, with seasoned pros like Willemse expected to step-up and lead younger players such as Jack Blain and Connor Boyle.
“We can’t look at the past six games now. We just have to focus on the next one.
“We’ve lost a lot of guys to the national side, but as a group we really have a lot of guys who work hard and we’ve got a lot of depth, so we have a lot of trust in each other and we just have to look forward and carry on doing what we did last season and hopefully it comes right.
“Like I said, we’ve lost a lot of guys to the national side but it is not something we dwelled on.
We’ve just carried on and tried to enjoy ourselves as much as possible, and just focus on the next game. There is a lot of guys coming through the ranks now and getting opportunities, so we’re focussed on that – we want to make guys excited about getting the chance to come into the set-up and show off their talent.
“We’ll just keep chipping away and I am inn doubt that come next week we will be up for it.”