JUST over a week ago, Edinburgh were expected to beat a depleted Newcastle Falcons. Today, Richard Cockerill’s men expect the second part of this Champions Cup double-header to be a far tougher assignment.

It is a much-changed Falcons XV that await the group-topping men from the Scottish capital. According to Scotland flanker Hamish Watson, however, those raised expectation levels rest comfortably with him and his team-mates.

Viewing the amendments to the Falcons starting line-up, Watson admitted; “Obviously we thought that might be the case after last week,” said the Edinburgh openside who chipped in with a try in the bonus-point victory. “Newcastle used some second-string players and had a lot of injuries and we dominated the game. This weekend will be very different, they have made a lot of changes and we approach it the same way as we did the first game; we have got to do our stuff well and we believe we can go there and get the victory.”

The biggest issue facing Edinburgh last week – and Newcastle for that matter – was the Falcons arriving at Murrayfield missing their first, second and third choice props at tight-head. That is an issue redressed for today’s clash and means that, rather than playing within themselves – so as not to instigate uncontested scrums – Edinburgh can use all the front row weaponry available to them.

“We knew last week would be a different challenge because all the expectation was on us to have a good performance with the injury problems they had. It is hard at scrum time when you are such big favourites, but our front row did a really good job and this week we have been preparing for a different challenge because we know they will have players back and will be stronger. We have international props coming off the bench, so we are quite confident in terms of the scrum and the set-piece battle.”

Watson is focused on helping Edinburgh progress in this tournament, rather than any side issues, such as facing John Hardie and Gary Graham, two players who have ambitions of their own with Scotland at international level.

“It is an extra bite to proceedings but I don’t look at it in a Scotland context. The Scotland coaches may look at it as a rivalry for the number seven jersey or a back-row jersey, but if you get yourself too caught up in trying to claim the Scotland jersey then you won’t do your job well for Edinburgh. You just have to concentrate on your job for the club and everything else will take care of itself.”