Edinburgh need to find their passion following Alan Solomons' exit

By Tom EnglishBBC Scotland
Edinburgh players and coaches
Edinburgh have not hit the heights under Alan Solomons

The most slowly dropping penny finally fell to earth on Wednesday when Alan Solomons and Scottish Rugby at last accepted what most other people have known for the longest time - that the game was up and that change was needed at Edinburgh.

Saturday's defeat by Munster was Edinburgh's third of the season. Put another way, when including the conclusion to last season, it was their sixth Pro12 loss in seven games.

One could spend all day cataloguing the case against Solomons, a good man with vast experience who was given every chance but could not get the job done.

A snapshot? He signed dozens of players and too many were not up to it. He made too many excuses and only a few were legitimate. His brand of rugby was one-dimensional and dull. If Edinburgh's attack has developed under Solomons then it's moved forward in baby steps.

The season before the South African took over, Edinburgh missed out on the Pro12 play-offs by a whopping 30 points. Last season the deficit was down to 15 points. In the overall scheme of things, a relative grand canyon still divides Edinburgh from the top four.

Alan Solomons
Solomons (right) was in charge of Edinburgh for just over three years

He should never have been kept on for this season. That was Scottish Rugby's fault. They say they were backing their coach. It's a fine line between support and blind loyalty. The union were on the wrong side of that line when they re-committed to Solomons halfway through last season with a new deal until 2017.

It's not easy to build a culture when you are rattling around in a soul-less place like an empty Murrayfield, but Solomons did not help himself. He railed at the notion that his players were playing prescriptive rugby, but that's what it looked like to most observers. And there were fewer of those, too. That did not help either. Just 2,750 turned out to watch them play Scarlets in their first home game of the season.

So Solomons has gone and Duncan Hodge is in as acting head coach. Good. Hodge deserves a shot. He deserves a chance to turn this thing around and re-connect this team with its supporters.

What is Edinburgh's identity? Does anybody know? In the past, Edinburgh were a swashbuckling side, a team that played off-the-cuff rugby; were sensible, and entertained, when possible. Glasgow are now (a much better version of) what Edinburgh used to be.

Duncan Hodge
Hodge has the opportunity to improve Edinburgh's fortunes

Going back a while, Edinburgh used to have ambition, used to thrill. They used to lose a lot, it's true, but they played rugby that people wanted to see.

They need to find their passion. Every time you go into Murrayfield to watch them play you feel like ringing a bell as you walk. Funeral stuff. Bring out your dead.

Cull the journeymen tourists, cherish the imports who make a difference and let the driven homegrown talents off the leash. Get into new home Myreside early next year and start creating something. Take some chances. Edinburgh suffocated under Solomons. If Hodge can make them breathe again then the job could be his.

Have they got the players to make the top four? Probably not. Can they make top six and qualify for the Champions Cup? Unquestionably, yes. They have a pack of gnarled experience and impressive youth, typified by Hamish Watson who has been outstanding of late.

They have good, footballing backs who have been living on scraps for too long. Ambitious rugby is an endangered concept at Edinburgh. The extinct dodo bird would empathise with Tom Brown and his fellow backs at Murrayfield as they wait and wait for a sustained chance to show what they have got. They have talent and desire, but not enough opportunity.

They could be exhibits in a natural history museum - the Tasmanian Tiger, the Woolly Mammoth and the Edinburgh backline.

Climate change might be a good thing for Edinburgh. Given what has gone down this season - and last - it's the only thing.

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