McDonald’s is unlikely to fit in with the modern rugby player’s nutritional plan, but Edinburgh wing Damien Hoyland is happy to borrow their marketing slogan “I’m loving it.”

That applied to forming a back three with Argentinian pair Emiliano Boffelli and Ramiro Moyano as well as the more expansive style of play under head coach Mike Blair, particularly in evidence playing into the wind in the first half in Newport.

“I’m absolutely loving it,” Hoyland confirmed. “It’s just the new mind set - we’re going to challenge ourselves to push the boat a little bit. Sometimes we make mistakes in doing that, but we’re only going to get better.

“That first half we were playing into a really heavy wind and we did well to hold on to ball for that entire first half. I’m not sure what the possession and territory was, but we didn’t just hold on to ball, we played a lot of good attacking rugby.

“So, like I say, I’m loving it. I’m loving getting my hands on the ball. I haven’t enjoyed a rugby game as much as I did that one.

“I think I speak on behalf of the whole squad when I say we’re all absolutely loving it - we’re loving the training, we’re loving the games, and we’re loving the game plan.”    

Blair was also pleased with the way his Argentinian pair have fitted in, with Boffelli getting the opening try against the Dragons and Moyano adding the next two.

“There was some smart play by the back three, not just kicking the ball long but kicking it into the channels and making it harder for (Dragons full back) Jordan Williams to come out,” he said.

“I was delighted. I deliberately paired them this week, Emiliano coming in for his first week, he was playing on Sunday, walked around with us in our session on Monday and then straight into things on Tuesday.

“He’s not a fluent English speaker, he’s a reasonable English speaker but I believe having him and Ramiro, who speaks very good English, working together saw the best out of both of them and I’m sure there is a lot more to come as well.”

The bonus point win puts Edinburgh one point off top place in the United Rugby Championship table, breaking up Ireland’s Big Three. They want to maintain progress home to Treviso on Friday, before heading into Europe.

They will also look to build more layers onto a game plan which has clearly progressed from the time under previous head coach Richard Cockerill, with a bit of a masterclass on how to play into the wind which the Dragons could not match.

“You can’t avoid thinking about it,” admitted Hoyland, about their league challenge. “We were in a top-four position when we went to Rodney Parade, and we knew if we wanted to retain that we had to play a tough game and come away with a win.

“The next job is Treviso on Friday. It’s a massive, massive game for us. We want to keep that top-four position and we’ve got a big task in that game.

“We’re just taking it week by week, but the Dragons game was a huge target for us. We had to get a win, and to get the five points was brilliant.

“You look across our entire squad - our pack, our back line - we’ve got a lot of guys with international caps there from different nations.

“Look across the whole squad at all the players one to 23 and you’re thinking ‘You know what? This is a good squad and it can give any team a run for their money.”

Whether any of that good rugby will be seen in South Africa is now up in the air with the latest covid-variant restrictions causing confusion in the United Rugby Championship.

Edinburgh are not due to visit South Africa until March, so it’s a problem Blair is putting on the backburner for now.

“It’s definitely a bit of a concern how these games are going to play out, to be honest I try not to think too much about that kind of thing – that’s my manager or MD who says what’s changed and then we try to deal with that,” he said.