Friday, January 15, 2010

David Young hoping Edinburgh can find right formula to extend stay in Europe

Win and European rugby should beckon. Lose, and it’s another season of concentrating on the Magners League, and another season where Scottish rugby has drawn a blank in the Heineken Cup. The equation is that simple and stark for Edinburgh when they play Ulster tonight.

What complicates things for the Scottish club is that the arithmetic is identical for their opponents, who go into the game level on points in the pool but with the advantage of having picked up a bonus point in losing the reverse fixture, where the teams drew the try count at one each.

Which means that the biggest game of the season so far sees David Young, the prop, retain his place after being drafted into the side last week to give Geoff Cross a rest. “It is a big vote of confidence,” Young said yesterday before the team flew to Belfast, the city where, coincidentally, he was born while his father was on an Army tour of duty to the city.

“I have had snippets of opportunities in the past. To be given a start in the must-win game against Cardiff last weekend was a great boost. You have got to earn your stripes, and though that may have taken a few months longer than I expected, the key thing is that I have been given this opportunity and have to continue the momentum,” he added.

The back row sees Alan MacDonald, capped by Scotland in November but who missed last week’s game with flu, come in as a straight like-for-like replacement for Rennie. It is a rare outing for him in his specialist role as openside flanker, but he says he is just delighted to be back in the side.

“Seven is probably my preferred position but I am not picky, it is more about how I can contribute to the team,” MacDonald said. “It is very exciting; I think everybody will relish the experience. I have won games there in the past, and lost games there too. It is always a difficult place to go.”

Moffat knows that it would be a huge boost to his side’s chances if they were not only to win, but also pick up a try bonus point, but yesterday he refused to heap pressure on the team by suggesting that they would go out with those four tries as a goal. “I was disappointed last week because at 18-6 up we should have kicked on and got that fourth try,” he said. “I would expect that if we found ourselves in the same position this week, we would keep going, but you can’t predict that. The important thing is to win.”

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