Hodge won’t make sweeping changes – Kennedy

Andrew Lawton

20 Oct 2016

Minor improvements and not wholesale changes have been the recipe at Edinburgh under acting head coach Duncan Hodge, according to scrum-half Sean Kennedy.

Hodge has been in charge since Alan Solomons stepped down as Edinburgh boss at the end of September and, after losing to Connacht in his first game, has recorded two wins.

The Scots scored seven tries in a 45-10 victory over Benetton Treviso before recording a 59-10 success over Timisoara Saracens in their Challenge Cup opener last weekend.

That win was Edinburgh’s highest European points tally and their biggest victory and Kennedy believes a psychological switch has been the catalyst for his side’s upturn in fortunes.

“Hodgey has drilled it into us from the start that we’ll not change what we are doing, we’ll just do it slightly better,” he told The Scotsman.

“That’s a mentality thing. I think we have at times just gone through the motions, but now there is a bit more emphasis on our decision-making, and that comes down to simple things like somebody not giving a pass when they should have given it.

“I wouldn’t say freedom, we’ve just started to back ourselves a bit more, and have more confidence in our own ability.

“I think that might come across as taking more risks but I would say they are calculated risks if we are taking any.”

Hodge’s new regime will face its stiffest test yet on Saturday when they welcome Harlequins to BT Murrayfield in their second Challenge Cup fixture.

Harlequins will be looking to inflict a first Challenge Cup home defeat on the Scottish side in eight games and Kennedy is expecting a tough battle.

“It was good to get two convincing wins, but we are not under any illusions about the massive jump we will need to make this week,” he added.

“We don’t know what team they are going to bring up but regardless of who they pick they’ve got a massive squad with real quality in it.

“They play a pretty expansive style of rugby but if we stick to our systems and execute how we want to defend against them then I think we can put them under real pressure, turn over ball and start attacking them where we want to play.”

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