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Edinburgh hope muscle memory can power them forward

Edinburgh are looking to draw on the experiences of both last season and last weekend to generate the belief that they can cause an upset in Paris tomorrow when they meet Racing Metro in the Heineken Cup.

They know that even if they do so they have little chance of involvement in the knockout stages of either European competition this season, such was the scale of the beatings they suffered on the first two weekends at the hands of Saracens and Munster.

However, last year's beaten semi-finalists are looking to do more than simply regain some pride as they seek to build on the win over the Ospreys, and at Connacht last weekend, that followed the deeply damaging seven-match losing streak which included those two Heineken Cup thrashings.

While yet to regain the style that marked their breakthrough European run last season, not least when winning one of the all-time great matches as they came from 25 points behind to beat Racing at Metro, their head coach has taken great encouragement from the way they have turned things around. "The win against Ospreys was very important," said Michael Bradley. "The pack played particularly well. They controlled the game and dominated the Ospreys eight. It was slightly different against Connacht. Our backs probably overran the ball and tried to complicate things a bit too much. We will be looking to change that this weekend and get the balance right. When you win matches, people say it is the attack and when you lose matches people say it is the defence, but it's a lot deeper than that. You need to find out why people are stressed in defence; it could be a turnover in attack that has done all the damage.

"Against Connacht, when [Dan] Parks missed the drop goal against us, we hit the ball out to the halfway line, got a good chase on it and made all our tackles. For two minutes they did not go forward at all and we got a turnover in contact, which was brilliant, and closed out the game. The defence won the game in that sense."

As Bradley alluded to, they needed a little help from a surprising source last weekend when former Glasgow Warrior Parks missed that kick.

However, they had to put themselves in the position to benefit from that, just as they did last year when that comeback against Racing ended with Juan-Martin Hernandez also missing a very kickable drop goal that would have taken his side to victory.

Playing at those sort of margins again is a much happier place to be than being as uncompetitive as Edinburgh have been in this Heineken Cup campaign, on which note Edinburgh also have happy memories of the way they snatched victory at the death in Paris last year in the return match.

The fixtures may be the other way around this time, but Bradley reckons his players can take a great deal from having enjoyed such success in the French capital.

"From last year, we have a lot of confidence going over there and getting the win," he said. "This match has probably come at a good time in this tournament for us in that we are playing a side that we know and that we know we can beat. Obviously we respect them in terms of the challenge they are going to give us and they seem to be a better balanced side this year, more organised in defence, but I think we are better as well.

"We need the 15 players involved and we need each section of the team taking responsibility for their own area. That's something we're looking to change against Racing. The boys know that. It's how we beat them last year and we're going to have to do that again this weekend.

"We enjoyed being involved in the Heineken last year, it gave a lift to everyone, the supporters, the club, so we don't want to give it away cheaply. Hopefully we are going to perform very well on Saturday night and we will be too strong for Racing. Then we'll get them again when they come over here."

Edinburgh head coach Michael Bradley. Picture: David Cheskin/PA

Edinburgh v Racing Metro, Stade Yves du Manoir (7pm local time)

Heineken Cup. Rd 3

G Tonks; T Brown, N De Luca, M Scott, T Visser; G Laidlaw (capt), R Rees; J Yapp, R Ford, G Cross, G Gilchrist, S Cox, D Denton, R Grant, S McInally. Substitutes: A Titterrell, A Jacobsen, W Nel, P Parker, R McAlpine, P Francis, D Fife, L Jones

Edinburgh are looking to draw on the experiences of both last season and last weekend to generate the belief that they can cause an upset in Paris tomorrow when they meet Racing Metro in the Heineken Cup.

They know that even if they do so they have little chance of involvement in the knockout stages of either European competition this season, such was the scale of the beatings they suffered on the first two weekends at the hands of Saracens and Munster.

However, last year's beaten semi-finalists are looking to do more than simply regain some pride as they seek to build on the win over the Ospreys, and at Connacht last weekend, that followed the deeply damaging seven-match losing streak which included those two Heineken Cup thrashings.

While yet to regain the style that marked their breakthrough European run last season, not least when winning one of the all-time great matches as they came from 25 points behind to beat Racing at Metro, their head coach has taken great encouragement from the way they have turned things around. "The win against Ospreys was very important," said Michael Bradley. "The pack played particularly well. They controlled the game and dominated the Ospreys eight. It was slightly different against Connacht. Our backs probably overran the ball and tried to complicate things a bit too much. We will be looking to change that this weekend and get the balance right. When you win matches, people say it is the attack and when you lose matches people say it is the defence, but it's a lot deeper than that. You need to find out why people are stressed in defence; it could be a turnover in attack that has done all the damage.

"Against Connacht, when [Dan] Parks missed the drop goal against us, we hit the ball out to the halfway line, got a good chase on it and made all our tackles. For two minutes they did not go forward at all and we got a turnover in contact, which was brilliant, and closed out the game. The defence won the game in that sense."

As Bradley alluded to, they needed a little help from a surprising source last weekend when former Glasgow Warrior Parks missed that kick.

However, they had to put themselves in the position to benefit from that, just as they did last year when that comeback against Racing ended with Juan-Martin Hernandez also missing a very kickable drop goal that would have taken his side to victory.

Playing at those sort of margins again is a much happier place to be than being as uncompetitive as Edinburgh have been in this Heineken Cup campaign, on which note Edinburgh also have happy memories of the way they snatched victory at the death in Paris last year in the return match.

The fixtures may be the other way around this time, but Bradley reckons his players can take a great deal from having enjoyed such success in the French capital.

"From last year, we have a lot of confidence going over there and getting the win," he said. "This match has probably come at a good time in this tournament for us in that we are playing a side that we know and that we know we can beat. Obviously we respect them in terms of the challenge they are going to give us and they seem to be a better balanced side this year, more organised in defence, but I think we are better as well.

"We need the 15 players involved and we need each section of the team taking responsibility for their own area. That's something we're looking to change against Racing. The boys know that. It's how we beat them last year and we're going to have to do that again this weekend.

"We enjoyed being involved in the Heineken last year, it gave a lift to everyone, the supporters, the club, so we don't want to give it away cheaply. Hopefully we are going to perform very well on Saturday night and we will be too strong for Racing. Then we'll get them again when they come over here."

Edinburgh v Racing Metro, Stade Yves du Manoir (7pm local time)

Heineken Cup. Rd 3

G Tonks; T Brown, N De Luca, M Scott, T Visser; G Laidlaw (capt), R Rees; J Yapp, R Ford, G Cross, G Gilchrist, S Cox, D Denton, R Grant, S McInally. Substitutes: A Titterrell, A Jacobsen, W Nel, P Parker, R McAlpine, P Francis, D Fife, L Jones

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