Edinburgh hooker and Magners League Ambassador Ross Ford talks us through his side’s considerable change in fortunes.
The Scottish national team somewhow recovered from a hammerring by the Alll Blacks to beat the World Champion Springboks on Saturday but they aren't the only Murrayfield outfit to have turned their season around in inspiring fashion.
Scotland's 21-17 triumph over the Boks was a simply sensational recovery in the space of a week, while Edinburgh's improvement has been a more gradual but no less impressive process.
Last season it was Glasgow Warriors who flew the Scottish flag in the semi-final stages of the Magners League, with Sean Lineen’s side challenging Leinster, Munster and the Ospreys for the Celtic crown.
This time around, it is Edinburgh who are currently better placed to claim a top-four finish thanks to a serious upturn in early-season fortunes.
Having only narrowly missed out on an inaugural Play-Off place back in May, Edinburgh began the new campaign in disappointing fashion, losing their first three fixtures.
A home defeat to Munster was sandwiched between loses at Cardiff Blues and Ulster as Rob Moffat’s men found themselves at the wrong end of the table.
But Edinburgh rightly refused to panic. Instead they simply kept working hard, confident that their fortunes would turn sooner rather than later.
"We were obviously disappointed with the way the season kicked off with three loses,” said Ford, after he and his team-mates were beaten 34-23 in Cardiff, 16-13 by league leaders Munster and 29-21 by Ulster in Belfast.
"But there was no panic at all. We knew what had to be fixed.
"We weren’t losing those games by massive margins and, when you looked back at them, we could see inconsistencies in our performances that were allowing teams to score easy points.
"It was our errors that meant we were losing those games and we knew we could have won them.
"We know that we have to be consistent to compete in this league. In a lot of our earlier games, we weren’t quite there. But we’ve picked up a few wins since then and started to go on a bit of a run. That’s what we’re trying to build on now – getting it right all the time and improving our consistency.”
Ross Ford's Edinburgh have turned their season around
Since defeat at Ravenhill on September 17, Edinburgh have turned their Magners League season around, winning four of their next five matches.
That improvement began against last season’s beaten Grand Finalists Leinster at Murrayfield, as Edinburgh produced an impressive all-round display to secure their first win of the new term.
And Ford, who featured for just over an hour in that clash, admits that scoring four tries and securing maximum points against a side of Leinster’s pedigree was just what Edinburgh needed to get their season back on track.
"The win over Leinster was really important,” added Ford.
"They’re a team that likes to play rugby as well but we’ve got a good record at home against them.
"We fronted up well in the forwards and put together a lot of phases. That’s what we didn’t do at the start of the season – play through the phases and really test teams. In that game it clicked for us for 20 or 30 minutes in the middle session of the match.
"We scored some good tries and that gave us an indicator of what we can do when things go right for us. That was a massive boost for the team.”
Since losing to Ulster, Edinburgh have improved greatly
Edinburgh have since beaten Magners League newcomers Aironi and Treviso and gained revenge over Ulster to climb into a coveted Play-Off spot with just over a third of the season completed.
A narrow reverse to Leinster in Dublin is their only Magners League blemish since Round 3, allowing Ford and co to jump from 11th to fourth in the space of five games.
Last weekend’s results didn’t go their way meaning Edinburgh slipped back down to seventh in the standings but Ford and co remain within just one win of a Play-Off place.
But just as they refused to read too much into their poor start to the season, Edinburgh won’t be getting carried away with their upturn in form.
This year’s Magners League is already proving to be more fiercely contested than ever before and the intensity shows no sign of dropping once the autumn internationals come to an end.
After Ford has faced Samoa on Saturday having already tested himself against the might of New Zealand and South Africa, it’s straight back into the Magners League cauldron with a trip to reigning champions the Ospreys, followed by a festive derby double-header against Glasgow Warriors.
"We need to start well again when we come back from the internationals. It’s really key to start well.
"The Ospreys are a fantastic team to play against and then Glasgow is a local derby so it’s really exciting to comeback from international rugby and jump straight back into it again with some key games.
"We’ve showed what we can do to teams when we put phases of play together. If we can perform consistently for large periods of time, we can be very destructive against teams.
"But we’ve only done that in parts and, if we want to be competing at the top end of the table at the end of the season, we have to build on that. We need to become more consistent and that’s what we’re working towards in training every day – trying to become the team we know we can be."