Edinburgh forwards coach Tom Smith has urged his side to follow up a first away RaboDirect PRO12 win of the season with a flying start to the Heineken Cup.
The Murrayfield outfit recorded their first win since late September with an impressive 22-11 success against Treviso.
And with London Irish first up at the Madejski in Europe’s elite competition on Saturday, the former British and Irish Lion prop insists Edinburgh have to build on the momentum of last week’s win.
“The Heineken Cup always sits as a watershed in the season in terms of its importance and status, with so many teams aspiring to be successful,” said Smith.
“It’s often a clash of rugby cultures and a meeting of different styles, with our match this weekend requiring us to prove that we can cope with their physicality and them seeing if they can cope with our running game and our strength as a pack of forwards.
“To have a big start against a side like London Irish provides great motivation for the players, especially after the win at the weekend, so hopefully we can put in a performance and get a good win.
“Line speed is big part of London Irish’s game. They like to get across the line quickly, get the shoulders on and be physical in the tackle area, then follow that up at the breakdown where they’ll try and challenge for the ball and snuff out play.
“Every game will throw up individual encounters that are crucial to the game. If there’s parity in the set-piece then those battles will move on to different areas.
“They have some big names and key players who are used to doing a job for them so the onus is on us is to step up, stop them and create try scoring opportunities.”