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Edinburgh Rugby learn their stripes

Guinness PRO12 Editor

10 Sep 2012

Edinburgh Rugby centre John Houston believes that the club will be clued up on new Italian outfit ‘Zebre’ (Italian for Zebras) ahead of their arrival in Scotland for the first time this Friday.

The Italian Rugby Federation introduced the Parma-based club to this season’s RaboDirect PRO12 as a replacement for Aironi Rugby, housing the side in the refurbished and expanded ‘XXV Aprile’ Stadium.

Founded as an invitational team in 1973, the club have been transformed into a fully professional outfit, with former Treviso, Toulouse and Castre coach, Christian Gajan, at the helm.

So far the new club have endured a tough introduction to life in one of the most competitive divisions in northern-hemisphere rugby, suffering defeat at the hands of Dragons (13-9) and Connacht (30-17) in the opening rounds.

However, despite their slow start, Edinburgh Rugby centre John Houston explained that the club will not be taking anything for granted when the Italians come to town, as they seek to build on Friday’s 21-19 away win over Cardiff.

Speaking at Edinburgh Zoo, Houston said: “We can take massive confidence from the win in Cardiff, which was in front of a big, vocal crowd of home fans. They’d really come out in force for the return to the old Arms Park.

“It’s really kick started our season. We said at the start of the week that we wanted the points back after losing at home to Munster, so it’s good to come back Edinburgh having achieved that and now look forward to another opportunity to get some points at Murrayfield on Friday.

“They [Zebre] are a new team but we have two games from them to review, while they feature a lot of players (19) from the previous Aironi side, so I expect they’ll play a bit like them.

“The most important thing is to get a home win for our home fans. We did some hard yards on the road at a tough ground like the Arms Park and are really fired up for this Friday’s match at Murrayfield.

“We want to repay the support of our fans and continue to progress in this division.”