BLAIR KINGHORN has claimed that Edinburgh’s defeat by Ulster last weekend will be a “final turning point” in his team’s progress towards major honours.

The full-back stopped short of saying his team would prove they had learned the lessons of that PRO14 semi-final loss by beating Bordeaux-Begles in Saturday’s Challenge Cup quarter-final, and acknowledged that they could play at the top of their game yet still come off second best to the formidable French outfit.

But a brutally frank review of the PRO14 semi-final – just Edinburgh’s latest under-performance in a big knock-out match, which saw them give away a 12-point lead to lose 22-19 – has convinced Kinghorn that in future the squad will be able to rise to the occasion in such matches.

“We’ve had Munster in the [PRO14] quarter-final and lost that, Cardiff in the Challenge Cup and lost that, Munster again [in the Champions Cup] and then Ulster,” he reflected. “So we’re getting ourselves into the positions and then not executing to get us to that next stage.

“But I have full confidence in the team that we have the ability to do this. It’s just a bit frustrating that we’re not, but I think you’ll see when we play Bordeaux that we’re ready to. I think the game against Ulster will be the final turning point, that everything will click and you’ll see us in action on the big stage.

“I think we’re turning a corner, personally. I think I speak for the majority of the rest of the team.

“I think if you were at the review on Wednesday, you would be like, ‘Right, we don’t want to be here again, we don’t want to be in this moment again where we’re getting shouted at and we’re hawking the same things that we’ve been through for the last four years’. I think everyone’s sick and tired of it.”

Reviews of major losses, in which the whole squad have to undergo a detailed analysis of what went right or wrong, are a traditional way of learning and then moving on. There are also various points in the week leading up to a match when the players and coaches deal with the psychological side of the sport, in terms both of their own mental approach and that of the opposition.

But, asked if some external input would also help Edinburgh with the mental side of their game, Kinghorn agreed, suggesting that a psychologist who did not customarily work with the players could be a more appropriate audience for their woes.

“Yeah, I think it’s something that teams can look at. High-performance sport is so demanding in different aspects, that a big loss can sit with you and affect your mood a lot.

“With the mental side of the game, the in-depth way we look at teams is quite big in terms of the psychological side of things, but after a big loss there’s not really that much in place in terms of Scottish rugby. It’s something that probably needs to be looked at a little bit more.

“I would say that pressure rugby is one of the jobs that you can’t leave at work. If you have a bad day at training, if you have a bad review, if you have a bad game, lose a big game, it kind of sits with you all week on your shoulders. Obviously you have your close friends and partners and all that to get it off your chest with, but you want to have someone that you can pass the burden on to, not necessarily pass on to someone that you care about.”

The ideal, of course, is that you do not need to have anyone – close friend, partner or psychologist – with whom to share those woes, because you win all your big games. Kinghorn knows well that Edinburgh are not yet in that position, and is equally aware of just how tough Saturday’s match will be against a team who had a healthy lead in France’s Top 14 when the season was cancelled.

But, while knowing there is no guarantee of victory, he appears convinced that the team are ready to assert themselves and put in the sort of big performance that eluded them against Ulster.

“We could go out and play a stormer, execute our game plan, but on the day they might just be better. But I think that will still show development.

“But I have full belief that we’ll go there . . . If we play our best and execute everything we can, then I think we can . . . . To have the chance to bounce back in such a big and important game straight away is beneficial for us. It’ll help us as a team and as a club and it’ll help us stand up to playing in more of these big games.”