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Edinburgh’s Atiga settling in under new regime

Guinness PRO12 Editor
12 December 2013

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Ben Atiga’s first season in Scotland was a struggle – but the Edinburgh man is starting to enjoy life under the new regime.

Atiga, who hails from Auckland, New Zealand, joined the RaboDirect PRO12 region in April 2012 and admits he suffered a culture shock.

The 30-year-old, who plays at centre or full-back, endured a tricky first campaign as Edinburgh finished tenth in the RaboDirect PRO12 and failed to claim a single point in their Heineken Cup pool.

However, the arrival of South African duo Alan Solomons and Omar Mouneimne at Murrayfield has helped convince Atiga the club has significant potential.

“I was a bit shell-shocked by the culture differences when I came here,” he told the Scotsman.

“I knew there would be a culture change coming to Scotland and that it was never going to happen straight away.

“Here, with the way the season went, we were biting at everything. It was not an enjoyable environment to be in.

“It was really tough and a lot of fingers were being pointed all over the place. Not blaming, more just trying to find out where we were going wrong.

“A new season helps, but this year we have made big steps forward in terms of our culture and it’s a bit more relaxed now. Alan Solomons and Omar are quite, well, straightforward.

“They have the respect of the boys and definitely keep the guys on their toes, which is probably what we needed. But at the same time everyone is encouraged to enjoy themselves.”

Edinburgh suffered European Cup defeat to Gloucester last weekend and they head to Kingsholm on Sunday with the opportunity to avenge the result.

Victory could move them second in Pool 6 with just two games to play and Atiga is excited by the prospect of European success.

“These games are very important to us, especially after dropping a game at home,” he added.

“We know it’s a big ask [to qualify] but we are at a place now where we expect the highest standards from each other in every game, and to win every week regardless of who we play or where we play.”

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