Rugby World Cup disappointment fuels Edinburgh and Glasgow’s fast start to URC season
Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh have each won four of their five opening matches in the United Rugby Championship and are second and fifth in the table, respectively. It is still early days of course, and both teams will have to travel to South Africa in the spring but, as things stand, the two Scottish teams are safely ensconced in the play-off positions.
“Hopefully it doesn’t change,” said Everitt, who took over in the summer from Mike Blair. “I’ve said it before - the disappointment of the World Cup would have added motivation to the players that are playing in the two franchises, no doubt. That often happens: if a team does well in the World Cup, often those players come back with a bit of complacency.
“These guys have come home and they really want to feel part of a family and they want to taste a bit of success after the failure in the World Cup. And they’re doing a tremendous job. Each and every one of the internationals that have come back have been worth their weight in gold. So it’s really pleasing that they have that attitude towards Edinburgh, and that matches what the club needs to be about.”
Edinburgh and Glasgow each supplied 14 players to Gregor Townsend’s original World Cup squad as Scotland were eliminated in the group stage after losing to South Africa and Ireland. The vast majority have now been reintegrated into their clubs, with Scotland captain Jamie Ritchie the latest to return for Edinburgh as he helped them defeat the Bulls on Friday.
Everitt believes the team is improving week on week but denied suggestions that the good start had exceeded his expectations. “Not really with the group that we have and the preparation that they had prior to my arrival,” he said. “There were a couple of things that we needed to sort out and I’m sure you’ll have noticed that game management was one of them and the guys are managing the game a hell of a lot better than they did.
“And I think it shows that they want to learn and they want to get better - they’ve certainly shown that although the results have been tight at the end. Hopefully that will help us later on in the competition when you get to knockout stages - if we make it there.”
Both Scottish sides now have South African coaches at the helm and Everitt said he and his Glasgow Warriors counterpart Franco Smith “go back a long way”. He has been impressed by Smith's work at Scotstoun. “We have chatted a couple of times since I’ve been here,” added Everitt. “He’s doing a good job at Glasgow and, as you can see, he had a major impact when he came. He was involved as a consultant with the Springboks at one stage and he was a front-runner for the coaching position there, so he’s well respected coach and done incredibly well.”
The pair will lock horns when Glasgow and Edinburgh meet in the festive 1872 Cup double header on December 22 and 30.
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